Tuktuk city (or: Delhi-upon-Tagus: tuktuk transport in a globalised city)
I Congrés Català d'Antropologia
Lisbon is nowadays experiencing multiple social and economic outcomes of an intensive development of road infrastructures carried out in the past 20 years in and around the city, while new paradigms of both urban and suburban mobility are arising at a time of bursting turistification of the city centre. On the one side, the emerging intents by the city council to curb excessive private car dependency (mainly, the improving of inter-modality in public transport) has been established as part of social and environmental policies responding to European and international normalisation pressure, which induced a growing gentrification of the city centre. On the other side, the stigmatisation of pendular public transport as sole means of mobility for the poorest segments of the suburban population remains, with its lack of attractiveness for the lower suburban middle class (historical negative memories of public suburban transport, evaluation of the new, improved, intermodal transport payment system). In parallel, the recent internationalisation of the city (the tourist wave, the new forms of migration and major changes in the house property market) is encroaching on its inner transport system. In this sense, the uses of soft mobility means for everyday tourist transportation and also for the mobility of inner city dwellers (tuk-tuks, electric scooters, shared bicycles and pedestrian paths) has become an important part of both the leisure economy and of the regular mobility of the city's inhabitants. The particular case of tuk-tuk motorcycles (whose drivers are at the same time touristic guides and services advisers) will be explored in this project as a relatively new transportation device that encompasses three dimensions of Lisbon’s contemporary urban economy: the narratives and imaginaries about the city that are transmitted by the drivers, the exposure of residential areas to tourism (and it's growing attractiveness to foreigners establishing themselves in the city), by the arrival of these new means of transportation, and the precarious work conditions of its young drivers. The tuk-tuk condenses and highlights the transformation of Lisbon into a cheap, re-imagined city-product open to be easily consumed by the global tourist and migratory market.
Lisbon,urban mobilities,transport systems,tourism