The Nature of Roads

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2017-05-09

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Shaw, Arthur Jonathan

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Abstract

Recognizing paved roads in the U.S. as an intersection between humans and other living things can contribute to new ways of relating to the world around us. While engineering capabilities can accomplish feats that increase the possibilities for human connectivity, human transportation also affects the movement and lives of many other organisms. A multispecies approach to understanding roads considers humans as one of many component parts of the ecosystems we occupy—as animals entangled with and interdependent on other beings, each seeking solutions for survival. Ultimately, I am curious how a multispecies exploration of paved roads in the U.S. could influence change in the way humans design transportation systems and share space with other species. By comparing human movement to the movement of other organisms, humans may learn better ways to move ourselves and remember to see ourselves as animal actors within the ecosystem.

There are multiple indications that a close examination of American road infrastructure is a timely endeavor. While the cost of materials and labor makes large scale change to the built environment challenging, three factors that contribute to change are currently coalescing. I argue that deteriorating infrastructure coupled with recent ecological discoveries and new developments in technology present the conditions for a major change in the American landscape.

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Anderson, Kavanah (2017). The Nature of Roads. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14312.


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