John Garrard Stehlin
PhD, Geography, 2015
Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies
University of California, Berkeley
I received my PhD in Geography in 2015 from the University of California, Berkeley, with a research focus that combines urban geography, political economy, and critical social theory to understand contemporary processes of urban change in North American cities. After graduating from Vassar College in 2004 with a degree in Political Science and Hispanic Studies, I moved to Philadelphia, where I worked as a bicycle mechanic at a shop serving a culturally and economically diverse world of cyclists at a time that the public image of cycling as a white, middle class activity was growing. My experiences there would go on to inform my dissertation, Business Cycles: Race, Gentrification & the Production of Bicycle Space in the San Francisco Bay Area, which I am now revising and expanding as a book, entitled Cycling the New Urban Frontier.
My next long-term research project takes the core concerns of my previous work in new directions. It investigates the global dimensions of the emerging normative ideal of “world class” urban design focused specifically on sustainable mobility, particularly bikeshare systems, bus rapid transit, and pedestrian-oriented streets. I will examine how these designs, and the institutional networks that promote them, have transformed marginalized forms of mobility into methods of competitive economic development, with exclusionary potential. A second front of research will examine vehicle dwelling as a unique mobility/housing hybrid, and a response to the affordability crisis in the Bay Area and beyond.
I currently live in Oakland, California, where I remain a bicycle mechanic and avid cyclist, as well as an occasional college radio DJ.