An Integrative Conception of Micromobility: Its Technical Tendency, Its Appropriation, and the Role of Mobile Interfaces

Thilo von Pape, Jean-Claude Domenget, Séverine Equoy-Hutin, Sophie Mariani-Rousset, Thomas Buhler


This article develops a heuristic framework for analyzing “micromobility” by integrating transportation and communication perspectives. Micromobility involves small electric vehicles, such as scooters and electric bicycles, and their digital user interfaces in the form of apps or embedded screens. We see the defining characteristic of micromobility not in the vehicles’ weight, size, or even motorization but in their tendency to deploy motive power seamlessly in their users’ everyday lives. Micromobility practices emerge through the appropriation of new vehicles as transportation and communication devices and the reappropriation and expansion of users’ territories through these vehicles. By combining the characteristics of technical tendencies and social appropriation, our framework highlights critical issues in the evolution of micromobility, including users’ autonomy and privacy, and the collective values of equal accessibility, urban cohesion, and sociability. It also indicates how mobile interfaces may intervene to orient micromobility in desired directions regarding these issues.


micromobility, mobile communication, appropriation, territory, mobile interfaces

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