Flutter, Lorna

Lorna Flutter
Start date:
October 2018
Research Topic:
London's Boat Dwelling Community
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Tom Hall and Kate Moles
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Urban Studies has lent heavily on the premise that people move between areas of dry land (Hall, 2012; Miller, 2008; Allen et al, 2003). However, 2.5% of London is made up of ‘blue space’, formed of canals and rivers that host an annually expanding floating population (NBTA, 2016). Increasing dramatically from 638 in 2012, there are now upward of 1, 954 ‘continuous cruiser’ boat-dwellers in London (NBTA, 2016; RBOA, 2017). Regulations state that ‘continuous cruisers’ can moor in one ‘neighbourhood’ for 14 days, putting them in constant flux through central and peripheral areas of the city (CRT, 2015b:11). Whilst mobility theorists analyse urban movement, work remains separate from the residential context (Jenson, 2010; Sager, 2006). Challenging the association of mobile dwelling with rural ‘traveller’ communities (Martin, 2002; Hetherington, 1998), London’s mobile boaters bring continuous residential mobility into the discussion of everyday urban life. This ethnographic study will explore practices of belonging, variant forms of mobile-home making, and urban interaction. Durational ethnographic engagement with ‘everyday life’ is intended to encourage understanding of the ‘rhythm and temporality’ of London’s urban water.