Improbable recently profiled the work of Dr. Eric Laurier, who is a Senior Lecturer in Geography & Interaction, at the Institute of Geography & the Lived Environment, University of Edinburgh. Specifically, his paper on ‘Why people say where they are during mobile phone calls‘ Dr. Laurier’s work centres around the realisation that we miss so much of what is familiar to us because of its very familiarity. Take for example ‘Roundabouts’ [‘Traffic Circle’ in the US] – which are the subject of a work-in-progress paper which examines what drivers and passengers do when they traverse one.
Leading to observations:
“Though it has one in its middle, the roundabout itself is not dealt with as an island, it is part of a gestalt of road features come upon through the practice of driving and the organising device that is a journey. More specifically the roundabout’s features are realised in different ways according to the course of action at hand. In this article an array of practice provides just such specific tasks that lead to specific features of the roundabout being realised.”
In such ways, the research arrived at conclusions :
“The roundabout provides a setting where ‘where next’ is made relevant both for those moving in and through known and unknown environments.”
The paper can be read in full here : Before, in and after: cars making their way through roundabouts
COMING SOON : More ‘familiar things’ research from Dr. Laurier