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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Negotiating the city during the dark season: a study of recreational running

Leposa, Neva; Peinert, Hanna; Qvistrom, Mattias


Seasonality plays an important role in determining how and where everyday activities are conducted. Yet how seasonality shapes recreational mobilities in the city, and how it matters for everyday urban life, remain largely unexplored. Inspired by recent research on the weather as lived, this paper contributes to the understanding of urban recreational mobilities as shaped by runners negotiating the urban environment and its seasonality. Thereby, we also explore a specific way to examine the city. We studied recreational running during the dark season in Sweden, based on diary-interviews with thirty runners, employing practice theory and affordance theory to explore how places, practices, and affordances characterize running during this season. Our findings reveal ways in which runners engage in different running practices in different settings, with the forest, pavement, and hills as our examples, and with lights as an additional analytical lens. We show how runners, in their strategies for dealing with the dark season in a city, tend to avoid some characteristics of the city (traffic, noise) while taking advantage of others (street illumination, road, and pavement maintenance). Thus, running practices are partly formed by urban planning and maintenance.


Affordance theory; practice theory; recreational running; seasonality; weather; diary-interviews; urban planning

Published in

2023, Volume: 18, number: 5, pages: 740-755