It is only a matter of time until algorithms take the wheel. While the first autopilot system for vehicles was developed 3000 years ago by sailors attaching weather vanes to tillers, the last 10 years have seen unprecedented growth in interest and effort towards AV (autonomous vehicles). Today, autonomous vehicle tests are underway in 36 US states, while it is estimated that the technology could replace 90% of vehicles in cities such as Lisbon, Portugal and Austin, Texas.
Urban Mobility: The Latest Architecture and News
BIG unveiled its latest intervention, the Toyota Woven City, the company's first venture in Japan. Nestled at the foothills of Mt. Fuji, the project, in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation, is the world’s first urban incubator pushing forward the development and progress of mobility.
For decades, the gas station has been a staple of both urban and rural landscapes. As the 20th century saw the democratization of automobiles, the gas station became arguably one of the most generic, universal architectural typologies. Today in the USA alone, there are 130,000 gas stations serving 268 million cars. However, as populations move to condensed, urban areas with ever-improving public transit systems, and as the internal combustion engine evolves into electric alternatives, it is time to either redesign or retire the gas station.
The implementation of a Complete Street is something to be celebrated. A Complete Street initiative is a clear indication that a city is striving for urban mobility and seeking a more democratic and safer use of space. Nevertheless, it is vital to measure the impact of these interventions when implementing future actions.
Joel Carlos Borges Street, the first Complete Street in São Paulo, underwent an evaluation two months after it was completed. The study revealed that 92% of its users approved of the project and believed that the changes were beneficial.
Clay Cockrell, a psychotherapist from New York (where there are so many psychotherapists that they could have their own neighborhood) takes her sessions outdoors. These sessions specifically entail walking, in places like Central Park or Battery Park, or wherever else the client prefers to go, as the location of the consultation is totally flexible. Though her method and fees are relatively similar to any other psychotherapist, the one marked difference is the environment in which the doctor-patient interaction takes place. The typical sofa, leather chair, Persian rug and prop library are all replaced with the street´s pavement, gravel or the park where the patient chooses to go.
Walking is much more than covering a certain distance by foot. It is also one of the most basic tools to achieve what is commonly referred to as “clearing the mind.” Walking is a free resource, easily accessible and almost always available, and facilitates the return to a calmer world where the mind can make connections free of interferences with the body, and the body, in turn, can connect with the ground that it walks on and the environment it is surrounded by.
In this six-minute-long video, Vox makes the argument that the primary reason behind the recent resurgence of streetcar systems—or proposals for streetcars, at least—in the USA is not because of their contributions to urban mobility, but instead because of the fact that they drive and sustain economic development. As it uncovers the causes for the popular failure of the streetcar systems in cities such as Washington DC, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City (low speed and limited connectivity, mostly) it asks why an increasing number of American city governments are pushing for streetcars in spite of their dismal record at improving transit. Is it solely due to their positively modern aesthetic? Are streetcars destined to function as mere “attractions” in a city’s urban landscape? Or is the real objective something more complex?