WPS 24: Cargo bikes as a lens for gender, class and urban transformation in Amsterdam

In Dutch inner-cities, like Amsterdam, ‘cargo bikes’ have become a popular mode of transport for urban families. Remarkably, the cargo bike has become a highly contested object in both public space and public discourse. This paper uses the cargo bike as a lens to discuss the transformations of urban space from the perspective of class and gender. Based on a qualitative content analysis of national newspapers it argues that the cargo bike has become a symbol of the interdependence of specific residential, employment, consumption and mobility practices.

Cargo-bike drivers are portrayed as ‘yuppies’ or ‘elitist’, related to their class position; and described in terms of specific gender roles: cargo-bike mothers are described as career-focused mothers who are assertive and self-confident, while cargo-bike dads are portrayed as ‘soft’ yet also emancipated. These labels attest to the different expectations and normativities around being a ‘good’ mother or father, particularly within the context of urban space. This paper concludes that the cargo bike is a symbol of the way in which middle-class mothers and fathers challenge and negotiate these dominant norms around parenthood, who are thereby remaking the city.

W. Boterman (2017)


Dit working paper is reeds (open access) gepubliceerd. Klik hier voor een link naar het artikel.

Image credits

Header image: CUS logo_twitter_260.png

Icon image: CUS logo 1260x1260.png