Driving, cities and changing climates

Gordon Waitt*, Theresa Harada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The relevance of cars in relation to changing climates seems indisputable: scientific evidence points out the significant contribution of cars globally in causing greenhouse gas emissions. Despite higher levels of general public understanding and concern about climate change, this has not generally resulted in decreased car use. This paper outlines how a spatial perspective drawing on a cultural economy approach may provide insights into the paradox of the environmental 'value action gap' by focusing on suburban belongings, passions and anticipations derived from driving. Drawing on insights from Burraneer Bay, an affluent Sydney suburb, the paper illustrates how habituated and embodied knowledge of driving props up class envy, the spatial bordering of the city and the transformation of a love of driving into driving as love, underpinned as much by a desire to consume as by the performance of an identity. The implications for urban policy are considered that look beyond culture as attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3307-3325
Number of pages19
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


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