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WIREs Clim Change
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Personal mobility and climate change

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Changing personal mobility behavior in response to climate change represents a major challenge for social scientists and practitioners, given the embedded nature of mobility in daily life. Attempts to understand, govern, and promote more sustainable mobility have tended to focus on individual decision making and incremental shifts in behavior, such as reduced car use and increased walking, cycling, and public transport use. Indeed, these are progressively being woven into narratives of “smart” travel and the use of technology to enhance individual decision making. In this review, I respond to these developments by arguing that researchers and practitioners need to reframe their understanding of personal mobility to consider how travel can also be understood as an embedded form of practice, intimately connected to historic, economic, and cultural influences. In so doing, I propose that researchers need to focus their attention on two major challenges that constitute underpinning obstacles for promoting long‐term shifts in personal mobility: the ways in which cities are governed, designed, and regulated to promote hypermobility rather than dwelling; and the formidable problem of reducing personal carbon emissions from a growing international tourism industry. In addressing these two challenges, I argue for a new intellectual agenda that places personal well‐being at the center of efforts to promote shifts toward low carbon mobility practices. Such (radical) shifts include reducing the demand for travel, an emphasis on dwelling, and the promotion of “active” travel and “slow tourism.” In short, I ask why we travel so much, and why we don't travel well. This article is categorized under: Perceptions, Behavior, and Communication of Climate Change > Behavior Change and Responses

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