Concept of the Day: Höweler + Yoon Architects “Boswash 2030”

May 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

18_the_reverse_commuterArchitects Höweler + Yoon, winners of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012, have been working with the company and met last week for a third City Dossier Workshop at the 2013 Ideas City Festival in New York. The panel discussion looked at their vision of “Boswash 2030″ – a practical mobility solution for the 53-million person conurbation between Boston and Washington DC. Audi’s sales and marketing chief Luca de Meo says:  “We want to understand and we want to listen. How can we improve the quality of life in cities? And what does premium mobility mean in the urban spaces?”. Boswash 2030 involves, inevitably, networked vehicles with autonomous capabilities, with cloud-stored data used for seamless traffic flow and navigation, but also facilitating multi-modal transport and sharing of vehicles from cars to pedelecs and electric motorbikes to overcome the ‘last mile’ issue and other gaps in connections. The researchers explored these gaps and hitches in integration by describing four typical types of urban traveller – the there-and-back  ‘reverse commuter’, the ‘straphanger’, the ‘road warrior’ and the ‘cast-away’, the latter struggling with poor public transport between districts.

Höweler + Yoon say: “Switching and sharing have emerged as key strategies for urban mobility in the Boswash region. Switching will become increasingly important as no single mobility system will be able to meet all of our needs, and we will increasingly need to switch from various modes: private car to shared bike, to shared car and public transit subway system. Sharing is already a prevalent means of using resources, including music, information, bikes and cars. Mobility will increasingly be shared between multiple users and communities of users”. More at the Audi Urban Future Initiative website (sadly over-designed, slow-loading and quite difficult to use – hopefully not an indication of any future transport provision from the brand).

Other titbits today:

  • Nano-materials containing germanium + lithium-ion batteries = a doubling of typical EV range plus recharging in minutes, say a team from the University of Wollongong; more at the Illawarra Mercury (via Autoblog Green).
  • Finland is pushing to be a major supplier of hydrogen for transport: a new roadmap report outlines the country’s export plans, including hydrogen from forestry biomass and from reformed natural gas. More here. The country’s car and bus transport could become energy-independent, it suggests.
  • Mobilities is a whole academic discipline crossing design, social science, geography, economics, the arts… with, as its name suggests, a focus on movement and transport. List of presentations from this week’s #Mobilities13 conference at the Mobile Media Lab, Concordia University, Montreal here.

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