Research Network

International Research Network
The Cultural Politics of Sustainable Urban Mobility, 1890-Present (CPSUM) funded by the NWO Internationalization Humanities Research runs from 2015-2018 is an international research network. The network will lead to international research collaborations.

CPSUM seeks to contribute to the contemporary debate how urban mobility can transition into a sustainable system by investigating developments in the past. How did sustainable modes of individual, non-motorized (walking and cycling), and collective motorized mobility (public transportation) come into conflict with modern car-dominated urban city planning and traffic engineering? How do those conflicts affect us today? Historically, these have long been highly contested and even delegitimized as old-fashioned, dangerous, and obsolete. These cultural perceptions have influenced today’s policy quest for more sustainable solutions. In the political contest, cultural representations of (un)safety, obsolescence, and anarchism, rather than technical challenges, shape the current debate. The project aims to reveal how fundamentally the politics of cultural representation in the past affects contemporary debates and developments.


  • Network building through 7 workshops
  • Book of Concepts
  • International Research Proposal

Workshops were held in Caserta, Italy (September 2015); Munich, Germany (February 2016); Shanghai, China (July 2016). Workshops are planned for Paris, France (February 2017); Gothenburg (October 2017). A final workshop will be held in Eindhoven (June 2018)

CPSUM brings together pioneers in environmental humanities (LMU Rachel Carson Center, Munich; Ecological History Center, Renmin University, Beijing); historians in science and engineering programs (TU Eindhoven, TU Munich, New University of Lisbon, University of Virginia, Chalmers University). Social scientists who apply narrative and historical methods to the social sciences to show the relevance of humanities for current policy (TU Eindhoven, TU Twente, UK group; French group, SASS, and Brazil). Experts in the cultural appropriation of public transit, automobility, cycling, and pedestrians (all groups); and experts in public outreach programs through collaboration with research-based museums programs (Eindhoven Digital Museum, Deutsches Museum, National Railway Museum York; Canberra National Museum).
Dutch Humanities Research Group
Eindhoven University of Technology, Section of History, Department Technology in Society (TIS), School of Innovation, Faculty Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), Eindhoven, The Netherlands. 
  • Ruth Oldenziel (PL), is specialist in American-European History; Cultural History of Technology, Consumer History, Global history of Sustainable Mobility (cycling and pedestrianism). She is co-editor of the planned book The Cultural Politics of Sustainable Urban Mobility , 1890-Present.
  • Gijs Mom, Associate Professor, Global History of Mobility, founder and editor in chief of Transfers: Journal of International Mobility Studies; research interest Asian mobility. CPSUM participation: Asian mobility history; history of rickshaws;
  • Jan Pieter Smits, Professor and specialist Social Economic History plans to develop a history-based methods for mobility within Sustainability Index.
  • Mila Davids, Assistant Professor in History of Technology, has a specialization in Global Business History of Bicycle Industry;
  • Frank Schipper, Assistant Professor in the History of Technology, is an expert in Transnational Automobility and Tourism History;
  • Frank Veraart, Assistant Professor in the History of Technology; is an expert in history of sustainability, history of urban cycling; cycling.
University of Twente, School of Behavioural, Management, and Social Sciences (BMS), Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies (STePS), Enschede, The Netherlands, which brings together humanities and social science methods to Innovation.
  • Adri Albert de la Bruhèze (coordinator) is specialist in the political history of European consumption and European history of cycling. He is co-editor of the planned book The Cultural Politics of Sustainable Urban Mobility, 1890-Present.
Swedish Humanities Research Group
The Swedish group participates through Chalmers University of Technology, Department of Technology Management and Economics (TME) in collaboration with History of Technology, Gothenburg. Chalmers University of Technology specializes in transport, launched a strategic research initiative, “Chalmers Sustainable Transport Initiative”, and leads in this area in Sweden.
  • Per Lundin, Associate Professor in History of Technology, is an expert in the history of American and European traffic engineering and city planning; the history of Swedish tourism; and consumerism. CPSUM participation: PI of Swedish group.
  • Gustav Sjoblom, Assistant Professor in History of Technology, is an expert in the comparative history of transport systems, especially road and railway transport (Sweden, Britain, and Germany). CPSUM participation: Coordinator Sweden Group.
  • Martin Emanuel, Postdoctoral researcher in Economic History, Uppsala University. Emanuel’s three-year research project “Cycles of Cycling: Practices and Socio-Technical Transitions towards Sustainable Mobility” includes a two-year visiting postdoc at History Division, Eindhoven University of Technology. CPSUM participation: urban analysis cycling Stockholm/Malmö.
  • Daniel Normark, sociologist and researcher in Science and Technology Studies at Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University, CPSUM participation: mundane and ethnographic mobility history of illegal road signs, petrol stations, biking, public transport, bus stops, bike rental stations, and consumer logistics.
French Humanities Research GroupThe French Association Past and Present Mobility (P2M), is a French network of social scientists, who investigate public and individual mobility and policy as a social practice from an historical, political, and social point of view. P2M is a partner of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M).
  • Université de Paris, Pathéon-Sorbonne, Paris: Professor Mathieu Flonneau, President Past and Present Mobility (P2M); expert on urban history, and history of mobility; CPSUM participation: organization workshop.
  • Université de Paris 7, Diderot: Arnaud Passalacqua, expert contemporary history and public transit in the twentieth century; CPSUM participation: representation of trams, organizer workshop.
  • Université de Saint-Etienne/Sciences Po Lyon: Maxime Huré, Assistant Professor, specialized in European governance and politics of Bike-sharing Programs since 1960s; CPSUM participation: urban analysis of cycling in Paris and Lyon.
German Humanities Research Group
The German group participates with the LMU international Rachel Carson Center (RCC) and is located at the Munich Centre for the History of Science and Technology (MZWTG). MZWTG is a collaboration of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), the Technical University Munich, and the Deutsches Museum (DM)LMU Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC), Munich has pioneered environmental humanities in collaboration with Renmin University in China, Madison Wisconsin in the U.S., and ETH Stockholm in Sweden.
  • Helmuth Trischler, co-director RCC and academic director Deutsches Museum is an historian of technology;
  • Mingfang Xia Professor at Renmin University, RCC Visiting Fellow;
  • Ruth Oldenziel, Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, RCC Visiting Fellow, Century of Cycling: Paths towards Sustainability project;
  • Gijs Mom, Eindhoven University of Technology, Fellow Alumnus, Space, Sound, Smog, and Senses, Environmental Mobility History in the Making project.
Deutsches Museum (DM): Germany’s most popular museum (1.3 million visitors a year) is a leading international center for research into our modern culture that is shaped by science and technology; has scientific staff in several divisions, and its own research institute for the history of science and technology; and maintains close collaboration with the history departments at Munich’s three universities through its cooperation with the Munich Centre for the History of Science and Technology (MZTWG).
  • Frank Steinbeck, Curator at the Deutsches Museum – Verkehrszentrum, Munich, specialized in collection, exhibits as well as academic research on automobile, motorcycle, and cycling history. CPSUM participation: Frank Steinbeck is curator of the 2017 exhibit “Balance Acts: 200 years on two wheels”; urban cycling analysis of Munich; organization of workshop.
  • Bettina Gundler, Head of Department of Land Transport, specialized in German Traffic History and Public Transit. CPSUM participation: researcher Urban traffic research Germany.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies.
  • Katalin Tóth, PhD, research in historical and ethnographic methods to investigate the Cultural Cycling Practices in Budapest and Eastern Europe. CPSUM participation: Urban-rural analysis Budapest and countryside cycling.
Finnish Humanities Research Group
University of Turku, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, Department of Finnish History, Turku, Finland. Its History Department: Early modern Finnish history with a special focus on environmental history, gender history, labor and industrial history.
  • Timo Myllyntaus, expert in the history of technology and environmental history. CPSUM participation: organizer workshop; environmental humanities.
  • Tiina Männistö-Funk, specialized in the user practices of technology, in particular Finish rural cycling practices, tinkering, cycling representations memories and gender. CPSUM participation: Urban-rural/gender analysis; organization workshop
Associated Partners
Portuguese Humanities Research Group
New University of Lisbon (NOVA), Inter-university Center for the History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT), Department of Applied Social Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Technology. The inter-university center was reviewed as outstanding (“exceptional” 11th out of 322 in December 2014) by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the ESF. It brings Humanities to Science and Engineering Studies by focusing on cultural appropriation, center-periphery, local-globalization issues.
  • Maria Luí­sa Sousa, postdoc History of Technology, specialist on the history of Portuguese Automobility. She works on Lisbon urban mobility regime, automobility’s promise as inevitable mode of urban transit, and influence of American traffic engineering in post-World War II period.
  • Hugo Silveira Pereira, postdoc History of Technology, specialist on the history of Portuguese railways in the second half of the nineteenth century. He works on Porto’s public urban transit and suburbs emergence and transformation into current and modern trams service.
UK Humanities Research Group
The interdisciplinary UK group specializes in appropriation of both public and private mobility and that, together with the University of Leeds, collaborates in the White Rose University consortium building upon the research strength of each institution.
  • University of York, Department of History, The University closely works with the National Railway Museum through the Institute of Railway Studies (IRS). Professor Colin Divall, Professor of Railway Studies, former head of the Institute of Railway Studies & Transport History, is an expert on history of cultural attitudes to mobility, and has been principal investigator of the UK AHRC-funded network Mobility Cultures: Making a Usable Past for Transport Policy (2010-2011).
  • University of Sheffield, Department of Geography. The Department comprises interdisciplinary researchers across humanities and social sciences to physical sciences. Matt Watson, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, institutional head in the Dynamics of Mobility and Energy Demand research center, specialist in social practices and socio-technical change, including in relation to personal mobility.
U.S. Humanities Research Group
University of Virginia, Center for Transportation Studies. The university has an outstanding group of American historians of technology, hosts the interdisciplinary, university-wide and internationally recognized Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), and supports the Center for Transportation Studies bringing together engineering, planning, and the social sciences.
  • Peter Norton, Associate Professor, is a historian of technology with expertise in twentieth century streets and street users, and a pioneer in the history of the pedestrian, documenting the persistent legacies of historical developments in current urban transportation. He is the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City (MIT Press). He will explore pedestrianism in U.S. and European cities.
Chinese Humanities Research Group
The Chinese group consists of Tongji University; SASS and Renmin University.
  • Tongji University, Shanghai,  Urban Planning has a Memorandum of Understanding with Eindhoven University Urban Planning and IE&IS on Sustainable Urban Mobility. Haixiao Pan, Professor Urban Planning, is a specialist in Sustainable mobility and Urban Planning at Tongji.
  • Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), Institute of History has a Memorandum of Understanding with IE&IS and the Foundation of the History of Technology on Sustainable Urban Mobility. Xu Tao, specialist twentieth century Chinese history. CPSUM participation: Urban Cycling Shanghai, pre- and post-communist era.
  • Renmin University of China, Beijing, School of History, Center for Ecological History specializes in History and Environmental Humanities together with the Munich Rachel Carson Center and collaborates with Technical University Eindhoven. Mingfang Xia, Professor of History, Rural Economic Development and Environmental History China.