Urban Mobility Workshop: Rotary Warszawa

On December 12, 2022 I hosted my first ever ‘Urban Mobility Workshop’ a.k.a. Mobility Thought Lab with Rotary Warszawa Fryderyk Chopin.

This is part of my pilot research for my PhD program but I absolutely look forward to integrating development of these workshops into the Pedestrian Space experience!

In the above photo we are doing my I Spy Mobility game in which I show participants a series of photos and they count how many modes of mobility they see.

It’s a fun activity and I also enjoyed seeing the participants individually count as well as collectively discuss the modes they saw.

Earlier, we had a discussion on walkability, with me asking the group whether they had heard the term before. None had. I do not say that with criticism but as a reminder and observation that many people who are not working with or researching aspects of mobility, do not spend their daily lives talking about and thinking about these issues and discussing terminology constantly.

But the topic of urban mobility involves us all so it is easy to dive right into rich discussions, which is what happened as we began to explore the issues of mobility modes as well as (later in the workshop), get into activities exploring participants’ mobility choices, decisions, habits and perceptions.

Above and below, workshop participants doing a ‘mobility desire graph‘, an activity I developed for my research and these workshops.

Above, club president Michał looking at another Rotarian’s annual public transit card.

Earlier, Michał also shared a wonderful story about how just days prior, some members of the club dressed up as Santas and cycled a considerable distance on the city outskirts to an orphanage for Ukrainian youth. It was wonderful to see photos from this event and also be in awe of the conditions they navigated safely (a great deal of recent snowfall) to bring such joy to the orphanage.

Word association boards for using different mobilities in the city, one of the activities of the workshop

Below- a word association board for ‘Using Public Transportation in the City‘. Such a diversity of perspectives on public transit from even a small workshop!

These word association boards are important for me to include as a core activity in my Mobility Thought Lab pilot research workshop series.

As an avid and passionate public transit user (and advocate for equitable access to quality public transportation for truly sustainable urbanism), it is also very interesting for me to hear people’s loves, biases, criticisms & compliments of public transit.

What came to mind for workshop participants when thinking about using public transit?

Too slow
No clue
Reading Books

**We’ll get into the ‘smelly’ one next as this became a very interesting conversation exploring why one participant, based on a childhood experience, had this feeling about public transit.

Above: a fun moment from last night- myself and a Rotarian / workshop participant proudly showing our public transit cards!

We had a robust discussion about public transit. We talked very basically about options available to each person in their neighborhood but also about any bias or negative emotions associated with public transit. 

When a stigma about public transit came up, the regular transit riders in the room were able to frankly (and humorously) address whether that is true or not. In the case of ‘smelly’, not so much, or at least not so regularly that the rare occurrence of it happening outweighs the perceived benefits of commuting via public transit.

I view these workshops as a form of ‘urban mobility lab’ but also as a kind of ‘urbanism clinic’. Employing this ‘clinic’ approach means talking not only in a very literal way about what mobility choices people make but also offering the space for people to identify bias and trauma (associated with specific modes) in a group of fellow inhabitants who can sometimes sympathize or alternately offer a different perception. or experience.

One participant also later added to the ‘Using Public Transportation in the City’ board: “The Best Solution“.

Thank you to Michał Skup and the Rotary Club for being such gracious hosts and participants for this workshop! I greatly appreciated learning more about Rotarian values and could not imagine a better first experience to kick off my pilot research workshops here in Warszawa. Thank you.

My ‘Mobility Thought Labs’ in Warsaw include:
-a brief presentation about my research project on mobility behavior
-a series of interesting & fun activities to engage participants in the workshop
-Opportunity for participants to do a guided ‘mobility desire’ graph activity
-Opportunity for participants to take the mobility behavior survey in print or digital format (available in Polish, Ukrainian & English)

If you are based in Warsaw, Poland and would like to have me visit your business or organization so your team can take part in such an experience, please feel free read more on the workshops at Centrum Wielokultorowe (Multicultural Center) email info@pedestrianspace.org

-Annika Lundkvist, Founder of Pedestrian Space,

PhD Student, Polish Academy of Sciences