Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Understanding cycling in Quito through the lens of Social Practice Theory
José Antonio Vivanco

Last modified: 14-05-2018


Understanding cycling in Quito through the lens of Social Practice Theory.

José Antonio Vivanco Viladot

The Bartlett School of Planning, University College of London, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, WC1H 0NN, London.
E-mail: jose.viladot.15@ucl.ac.uk

Keywords: Quito, Ecuador, Social Practice Theory, Transport behavior, Cycling

Conference topics and scale: Urban form and social use of space


In Quito, the relatively recent development of infrastructure and programs to promote cycling has become central in the discussion for sustainable mobility[1]. Moreover, considering that the scheme ‘Ciclopaseo’ has been an important dominical event for many families over a decade, if compared with the low rates of cycling in the modal share, questions surge about the effectiveness of all these measures. Moreover, the appropriateness of cycling in a city with geographical, morphological, social, and cultural challenges for practitioners has been analysed.

The use of Social Practice Theory[2] provides a theoretical framework to understand holistically the daily mobility of two groups: a representative sample composed by University students, gives a specific target for policy making; while a parallel sample puts into perspective the validity of the results. SSPS and ArcGIS are used for the analysis of primary data collected with Google Forms.

Overall, the analysis of each one of the elements of practice explains a dimension of the self-reinforcing barriers to cycle. It is revealed that the construction of meanings in daily travel, especially cycling, is based on instrumental factors such as travel time and distance, but non-instrumental factors related to safeness and security weigh heavily in travel behaviour, creating psychological barriers to cycling.

It is concluded that reshaping the meanings of cycling is necessary by the construction of a culture of ‘road user behaviour’, the creation of physic-temporal-symbolic spaces to build cycling skills, and later transform the transport system, road infrastructure, streetscape, and the social rhythms of Quito into cycle-friendly spaces.



[1] Mogollón, D.O. & Albornoz, M.B.B. (2016) ‘La bicicleta y la transformación del espacio público en Quito (2003-2014)’. Letras Verdes. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Socioambientales 19, 24-44.

[2] Shove, E. (2010) ‘Beyond the ABC: climate change policy and theories of social change’, uofool of Planning. , K.,l life'ollege of London.Environment and planning A, 42(6), 1273-85.

Schatzki, T. (2009) ‘Timespace and the organization of social life’. In Shove, E., Trentmann, F. & Wilk, R. Time, consumption and everyday life: Practice, materiality and culture. London: Bloomsbury, 35-48.

Schwanen, T. & Lucas, K. (2011) ‘Chapter 1: Understanding Auto Motives’. In Lucas, K., Blumenberg, E. & Weinberger, Auto motives : understanding car use behaviours (Evelyn Blumenberg)


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