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A Tale of Two Bike Lanes: Consensus Movements and Infrastructure Delivery

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change

ISBN: 978-1-78756-896-9, eISBN: 978-1-78756-895-2

Publication date: 16 October 2018


In the years following the 2009 recession, local governments in the US have struggled to adequately maintain and manage infrastructure projects. As a result, community organizations are using new tactics to increase social and financial support for specific projects in the hopes of capturing local government attention and motivating infrastructure project delivery. This chapter explores how one community organization initiated a consensus movement by using civic crowdfunding to mobilize resources for a specific infrastructure project. Based on a matched pairs case study with two protected bike lane (PBL) projects in Denver, CO, USA (one that used consensus movement tactics and one that did not), this analysis focuses on the emergence of a consensus movement and its implications for project stakeholders. As a consensus movement supporting infrastructure, I argue that the project-based nature is important in defining movement success. Additionally, I argue that the relationship between the social movement organization and the state is more important than a typical consensus movement because infrastructure delivery requires a high level of state coordination and resources. The implications of using a consensus movement to support a specific infrastructure project point to shifting roles between social movement organization and the state.




I would like to gratefully acknowledge the research participants who played a key role in providing access to case knowledge. Additionally, I would like to thank Doug McAdam, Ray Levitt, Patrick Coy, and the anonymous reviewers of RSMCC who provided valuable feedback in developing the final document. This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program under Grant No. DGE-114747. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Gasparro, K. (2018), "A Tale of Two Bike Lanes: Consensus Movements and Infrastructure Delivery", Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 42), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 39-62.



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