From Cognitive Laziness to Cognitive Leniency

How can we move away from the focus on growth and efficiency when it gets to mobility and identify new ways of thinking about it?

a kid on a scooter step

Current mobility patterns are rapidly depleting individuals, cities, global resources and the environment. The achievement of the much needed radical transformation of this requires a profound reimagination of the societal futures collectively accepted as desirable. However, the way that we talk and think about mobility is narrowly framed around the notion that ‘being underway’ is a disutility. Experts, politicians, innovators and the general public tend to highlight the role of mobility in economic and urban growth, individual speed and system efficiency. This focus obscures the role of mobility in reproducing inequalities, and in driving unsustainable developments on a global scale.

Leverage Points to Intervene in a system (Meadows, 1999)

So, how can we move away from this? How can we identify new ways of thinking around mobility, nurture them, and amplify their potential impact? As Donella Meadows suggested, this is where the deepest leverage points for system change lie (see figure). The Laboratory of Thought aims to generate mobility narratives that are understandable, attractive, motivational and possible. These narratives should not be top-down imposed perspectives of societal elites, but instead be developed through participatory and democratic processes of deliberation. Find out more why this is important and how we will do this in this Open Access academic paper.


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There is an urgent need to rethink our thinking about mobility. The current expectations on mobility innovations are often rooted in the advances in digital technology and are generally greeted with eager optimism. Unfortunately what is often overlooked are the unmet needs of humans and our planet. The Lab of Thought attempts to explain mobility from this standpoint, so we as individuals and as societies lessen our impact on the planet, now and in the future.