Relational governance, distributed agency and the unfolding of movements, habits, and environmentsparking practices and regulations in England

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1417
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Issue number8
Early online date20 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019
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This paper argues that practices and technologies of relational governance are central to the everyday and mundane ways in which local and national governments try to reshape the behaviour, habits, actions and movements of ordinary citizens. While behaviour change theories may acknowledge the role of material technologies and environments in enabling positive behaviour change, they fail to acknowledge how actions, habits, practices and movements are multiple, emergent, distributed and relational. In this paper I argue that approaches that highlight the distributed aspects of processes of relational governance can reveal how attempts to govern and shape mobility are underpinned by environed understandings of embodied practices, habits and governmental technologies. The paper illustrates this by focussing on changing practices and policies relating to the control of parking in England since the 1950s. I examine how all manner of material things – from parking meters and traffic wardens, to parking apps and Automatic Number-Plate Recognition camera technologies – have emerged in a wide variety of attempts to influence and reshape parking habits, allowing the government of subjects ‘at-a-distance’ in more circumstantial ways through a range of political programmes, monitoring technologies and design solutions.


  • Mobility, behaviour change, car, driving, habit, parking, transport policy