The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Wilbert den Hoed

Project Title:
Mobility and access in the urban environment: the potential of cycling for the age-friendly city.

Description of Research Project:
My PhD contributes to the MyPlace project, a three-year collaborative research project at Open Lab between Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle City Council and Newcastle’s Age Friendly City Initiative. Its aim is to develop digital tools and approaches to support public engagement with local organizations in the research, planning and design of Newcastle as an age-friendly city. This PhD research looks at the age-friendly city from a geography point of view, by relating everyday mobility to ageing and concepts such as well-being, participation and social access. It sees ageing as a socially constructed experience and an outcome of interaction between people of all ages, rather than being reserved for particular age groups. This approach attempts to fill the need for a more relational understanding of the age-friendly city, with ageing as an inclusive process and with inseparable involvement of mobility.

In particular, urban mobility is to be explored through the case of everyday cycling. Traditionally being an all-age activity – learnt at young childhood and often physically easier to continue in later life than driving a car or using public transport for local journeys – everyday cycling may play an important role for mobility at the intra-urban level. Two urban residential areas in both a high and low cycling context are considered, aiming to:

1) Explore the potential utility of cycling as everyday means of mobility in the UK urban environment.
2) Improve the understanding of relationships between ageing and mobility experiences, using the case of cycling.

A combination of biographical interviews and mobile GPS tracking are used to capture both the incremental process of ageing from a life course perspective and current individual mobility patterns. Resulting data are both used to map the role of everyday cycling in urban mobility, and also as a tool for reflexive f! ollow-up interviews that further explore the motivations, constraints and social and physical experiences of mobility in relation to ageing, wellbeing and place. Doing so, not only transitions and renegotiations of (cycling) mobility are examined in detail, but also the increasing diversity and heterogeneity in the meanings and experiences defining growing old with will be explored.

‘Understanding cycling over the life course: a comparison between suburban residential neighbourhoods in Newcastle upon Tyne and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, prepared for the Cycling & Society Symposium in Manchester and Salford, September 2015.

‘Renegotiating slow(er) mobilities in the Age Friendly City’, prepared for the Royal Geographical Society Conference in Exeter, September 2015 (with Dr Jayne Jeffries)

‘Enhancing mobility and well-being in later life: Cycling as a tool for access and inclusion in Newcastle upon Tyne’, prepared for the British Society of Gerontology Conference in Newcastle upon Tyne, July 2015.

‘Daily life on the move: Tourism in the Age of Mobility. A case study of professional travellers in Barcelona, Spain’, prepared for RSA Workshop on Evolution and Transformation in Tourism Destinations, Vila-seca, Catalonia, February 2014.

‘Smartphones and professional travel in Barcelona: Mobile devices as mobility assistants’, Utrecht University: Faculty of Geosciences, April 2013.

Teaching Assistant in:
GEO1018 - Geographical Analysis
TCP1025 - Social Worlds
TCP2027 - Research Skills

Qualifications and Achievements:
BSc Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University
MSc (res) Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University

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