Faculty of Social Sciences
tweets as @canihazresearch
BA (Hons) Geography (Cantab)
MSc (Research Training) Environment, Science and Society (University College London)
Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) with the Institute of British Geographers (IBG)
How does cycling influence contemporary life in London? That's my main question. To be a little more specific, I'm investigating peoples' everyday, practical experiences of cycling, why people cycle some journeys but not others, and their expectations for what life would be like in cyclised city. This has involved accompanying and videoing people as they move around the city, reading diaries describing their daily life, and bringing groups of cyclists together to discuss their viewpoints. The result is a record of cycling in London which focuses upon some understated but unavoidable difficulties of city living: politeness, navigation and making a sense of place.
My work contributes to our understanding of transport as more than a means of getting from A to B. Different journeys create different ways of experiencing the history, infrastructure and social life of a city. A person’s background, motivation and skill will alter how they are practically exposed to a place’s opportunities, constraints and infrastructures. Together this influences how mobility happens, which I investigate through looking at how people practically fit cycling into their everyday lives. Whether office workers on Bromptons, radical activists, fashionist as on show, or parents and kids fetching milk on borrowed bikes, I'm trying to find out what makes and stops people cycling through the winding streets of 21st Century London. Theoretically, this draws upon research into sustainability, mobility, gender, urban studies and practice theory.
Public engagement is a key part of my research. Written evidence from this project has been cited by the Greater London Assembly’s Transport Committee, I have contributed as an expert to a number of Cycle Security industry events, I have been interviewed as a practitioner-expert on international sustainability policy transfer by the Royal Holloway (University of London) "Living in the Mobility Transition" project and sat on Southwark Council’s "Cycling Joint Steering Group" since 2013. A small cycle parking project, born out of a 5 year collaboration with grassroots advocacy group "Southwark Cyclists" was "Highly Commended" in the RCUK-sponsored "Engaging Research Awards" (2014).
My PhD research project is now in its final stages. The thesis will be examined in March 2015. Publications being drafted also include the outcomes of a sub-project conducted in 2013 whilst a Visiting Research Scholar at the Department of Sociology, The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. If you represent an academic, public, private or third sector organisation and would like to discuss any of these the findings’ potential relevancy to your work, or suggest a future research collaboration, please feel free to email.
Latham, A and Wood, P.R.H., (2015) "Inhabiting infrastructure: exploring the interactional spaces of urban cycling". Environment and Planning A, 47 (2), pp300-319.
Wood, P.R.H. with Parfitt, B., 2013, "The Mayor's vision for cycling in London: An Olympic Legacy for all Londoners", A-level teaching resource, Geography in the News, Royal Geographical Society.
A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.
Blog "Bicycle enlightenment" with Frauke Behrendt, 2012, OpenLearn guest blog written to accompany BBC Radio4's broadcast of 'Thinking Allowed - Morality of cycling', 29 May 2012.
Interviewed on "Cycling and the Road" for the "What is Mobilities" project, 2013, the Mobile Media Lab, Concordia University.
Interviewed for the "Cycling in London and New York" OpenSpace podcast, 2013, OpenSpace Research Centre, Department of Geography, The Open University.
Cited in "Gearing up; An investigation into safer cycling in London", Greater London Authority Transport Committee, 2013, Greater London Authority: London.
Wood, P.R.H, 2013, "Look how close he got, just to get ahead"; can creative representations of cycling experiences address issues of incivility on the road?" at Differential Mobilities: Movement and Mediation in Networked Societies, Pan-American Mobilities Network, 8-11 May, Concordia University, Montreal.
Wood, P.R.H. 2013, "Love will tear us apart; can mutual experiences of cycling create urban communities which bridge geo-demographic divides?", at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, 9-13 April, Los Angeles.
Wood, P.R.H., 2013, "Recursive (bi)cycles; how cycling your journeys changes the journeys you want to make", at the Cycling and Society Symposium, 3-4 September, The University of East London.
Wood, P.R.H. 2013, "Is This What The Elephant Feels Like? – using mobile video to evoke a feeling of area", exhibited interactive multimedia piece at Cities Methodologies 2012, 4-7 July, Slade Research Centre, University College London.