John Garrard Stehlin

PhD, Geography, 2015
Urban Geography, Political Economy, Social Theory

561 McCone

Office hours: Wed 10-1 (Fall), Thu 10-1 (Spring)

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, which I am now revising and expanding as a book, entitled Cycling the New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Politics of the Bicycle in the Neoliberal City. In the book, I interrogate the prominence of bicycling in both progressive and elite visions for the 21st century “green” city. I teach The Economic Geography of the Industrial World (GEOG 110), Globalization (GEOG 20), and Urban Field Study (GEOG 181).

My long-term research agenda has two main fronts. I plan to continue exploring how “ordinary” mobilities—buses, walking, bicycling—have been reimagined as technologies for making the “world class” sustainable city. I am currently researching the entanglement of bikeshare system planning and gentrification in Detroit, Oakland, and Philadelphia. This research informs the final chapter of my book manuscript. I also imagine comparing bikeshare systems in Spain, where the failure rate is high, with southeastern China, where they have grown astronomically but unevenly.

My second set of interests explores the political economy and ecology of race, property, and mobility in settler colonial societies. Specifically, I want to understand how the ideals of property ownership, freedom of movement, and race and class identity are entangled in the United States, Canada, and Australia, their effects on resource use and carbon emissions, and their implications for a more sustainable form of urbanization.

I currently live in Oakland, California, where I remain a bicycle mechanic and cyclist. Please visit my website for more information.