Critical Mass

Critical Mass

Modern urban planning and the capitalist fetishism of automobiles have led to the colonization of urban spaces by a systemic phenomenon known as automobility, composed of the social, cultural, spatial and economic features associated with cars. The Situationists International, a group of avante garde artists and theorists from the late 1950s, were concerned particularly with the dominating aspect of automobility on their cities and advocated for a reconception of the everyday through the creation of situations – alternative possibilities that broke away from the normal use of space.



Contested Streets, Contested Technology: The Appropriation of the Bicycle and the Performative Politics of Critical Mass in Budapest and Prague: A Case Study

Critical Mass, a social movement that contests automobility's dominant use of city streets and spaces by replacing traffic with a moving mass of bicycles, marks a resurgence of Situationist principles. Furthermore, it continues a long tradition of politicizing the bicycle as a technology, not only as a mobilizing tool, but also as the fundamental idea behind a new revolution in transport mobility.

This is particularly true in the Central European cities of Budapest and Prague, where record numbers of participants and significant changes in bicycle infrastructure and culture, are testament to the demonstrative and practical power of Critical Mass’ pedaling revolution.

Action Researcher: Lauren Othon-Buckley

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