Designing Mobility Systems for Urban Sustainability - A Case on Urban Complexity and Bicycling
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- Institutt for design 
Urban mobility faces significant challenges regarding its sustainability. Despite the availability of environmentally friendly modes of transportation a complex web of interrelationships constraints individual mobility habits. Urban structure, social norms, novel technologies, etc. play a decisive role in shaping mobility preferences, however, are rarely assessed holistically.This thesis in the field of design theory addresses the complexities within these urban mobility scenarios, particularly focusing on cycling as sustainable mode of transportation. Through developing a model to analyze local cycling practice and subsequently a practice-oriented design process to foster transitions toward cycling this thesis provides a theoretical angle on how to approach mobility design.The thesis is grounded upon an extensive literature review from the fields of urban studies, social practice theory, theories of structuration, design theory, human-computer-interaction, practice-oriented design, design for sustainability and systems theory. In a first step a case study on cycling practice conducted in Freiburg, Germany, and Trondheim, Norway, illustrated the local differences of cycling practice. The insights led to the development of a model capable to analyze how a practice interacts with its environmental constraints. In a second step this model is combined with case study results from the Changing Places group at MIT Media Lab investigating the effects of socially influencing systems on cycling initiatives. The final contribution of this thesis is the proposal of a concrete practice-oriented design process featuring various co-creation methodologies, practice as unit of design approaches and socially influencing systems.Through theoretically approaching cycling mobility design this thesis has produced two publications presenting a framework for practice analysis and an applicable practice-oriented design process. While one paper has been presented the second one is under peer-review. In focusing on mobilities as integral part of complex urban systems, this thesis contributes to the discussion of scoping relevant areas for design and to developing application areas for practice-oriented design.