Simon Wind has a bachelors and master’s degree in Urban Design from Aalborg University, Denmark, and has taught and supervised students in Urban Design since 2009. Also, he is a partner in a small design firm specialising in 3D visualisation and software training. Since 2011, he has been a Ph.D. Fellow at Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology at Aalborg University.
The ‘Elastic Household?’ how children families cope with differential mobility in the network society
The aim of the paper is to understand how children families cope with everyday life and mobility by looking into the aspects of differentiated mobility, relationality and togetherness. For most households with children, mobility is carefully negotiated and organised and a vital element in coping with daily activities, work, institutions, school, shopping, social life. Mobility is differentially distributed amongst the household members and, especially, children are normally conceived as being less mobile. However, through ‘mobile-with’ and ‘mobile-other’ constellations, household members find strategies to accomplish daily life.
Based on empirical data from households with children in Copenhagen in Denmark, the paper reviews the multitude of ways households negotiate, plan and perform common family activities; how they spend time together; and how togetherness is prioritized as opposed to more individualised lifestyles. Households’ togetherness presents itself in many figurations including shared meals, schedule free Fridays to do nothing after work and school, ‘cozy-weekend,’ scenic Sunday drives, holidays, shopping, sport and leisure activities, commuting together and escorting children.
The paper proposes the theoretical concept of ‘household elasticity’ as a way of conceptualising the household’s relationship between coping, differentiated mobility and togetherness. Furthermore, drawing on assemblage theory, the paper considers the household as a relational configuration of individuals, doings, sayings, technologies, etc. This elucidates how household member’s daily activities are never performed in isolation, but always in coordination and relation to each other and how this is a core element in the household’s coping strategies.