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Posts tagged Co.Design

A Mass-Transit Proposal To Connect A City Using Aerial Gondolas

FROG PRINCIPAL DESIGNER MICHAEL MCDANIEL TALKS TO CO.DESIGN ABOUT HIS IDEA TO CONNECT AUSTIN WITH A NETWORK OF GONDOLAS.

For many, aerial mass transit—either by way of tram or gondola—is an idea best left to ski resorts and World’s Fairs. But for a growing number of urban planners and designers, aerial transit represents an alternative for cities where traditional transit options are limited. At PSFK’s recent conference in San Francisco, Frog Principal Designer Michael McDanielunveiled an ambitious plan called the Wire, which proposes a network of gondolas over Austin, Texas.

McDaniel and his team imagine a system of 3S detachable gondolas connecting neighborhoods throughout the city, making it possible for cyclists and pedestrians to “hop” over particularly congested areas. “The big advantage here is the detachable part which means more gondolas can be added during rush hour and removed in non-peaks times,” he tells Co.Design. After looking at precedents—like dedicated bus lanes and Portland, another city whose aerial tram has been a huge success—the design team took to Austin’s streets, interviewing locals about their transit experiences.

Second-tier cities like Austin are tough places to implement comprehensive public transit systems beyond buses. If a city wants to build a system at street level, they’re faced with the issue of land rights: Building a light rail or tram through an urban core requires buying rights from dozens of landowners. They might choose to eschew the street for an underground subway system—but exorbitant costs and decades of gnarly construction work remain.

“It is simply a real estate problem,” says McDaniel, whose other projects include a portable emergency housing unit slated to go into production later this year. “Part of the Wire concept is to circumvent this real estate issue by cheaply flying over the real estate allowing more access to areas that other modes of transit simply can not provide for the same costs. Once you couple that type of core circulator with an Amsterdam-style city bike program, under single fare, you get a door-to-door transit system that is implementable today.” After the Wire’s public debut on November 1, the team is planning to meet with Austin officials and gondola manufacturers about its feasibility, though McDaniel has no delusions about a timeframe. “In my experience, products and concepts without an existing client are generally more difficult and take longer to realize,” he says.

The plan is likely to inspire a good deal of debate, thanks to the polarizing nature of transit issues. Some advocates believe that separating cars from foot and bike traffic ultimately works against overall street safety—that drivers who don’t encounter bikes and pedestrians on a regular basis are more dangerous when they inevitably do. “Urban mobility networks that segregate by use and rely on totally new modes like ski lifts further dis-empower users of existing car-alternative modes like buses and bikes,” says one urban planner, Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, who is an Isador Lubin Fellow and PhD candidate in urban and public policy at the New School. “It reinforces to car drivers that they rule as dominators of the road, encouraging them to become further disengaged.”

But McDaniel explains that the Wire isn’t about completely separating foot and car traffic. Rather, the idea is to carefully insert “shortcuts” into the existing urban fabric, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to circumvent the worst areas. “First off we are not talking about totally segregating car, foot, and bike traffic, but combining them in a smart and pragmatic way,” he says. “If they meet us on the Wire we will have more ways and more money to help them cycle around the cities. What the Wire does is create more choices for commutes.”

It’s definitely a romantic concept—actually, it’s downright utopian, hinting at a connection to the Metabolists, who also imagined overlaying massive flexible systems on outmoded cities. McDaniel, for his part, articulates the concept as a “layering” new infrastructure onto older cities—build up, instead of out. “[It’s] very much like DSL originally allowed broadband to exist over our old copper phone lines,” he adds, “which was thought of as impossible to do beforehand.”

The Best Of The Best: The IxDA Selects The Best Interaction Design Of 2012
THE WINNERS SOLVE A NUMBER OF PROBLEMS IN NEW WAYS, FROM FORD’S SMART DASHBOARDS TO SIFTEO’S NOVEL GAMES TO A SYSTEM TO HELP MAKE CELL PHONES EASIER FOR THE ELDERLY.
A dashboard that encourages eco-friendly driving, a tiny music sequencer, and a cell phone geared toward old folks count among the winners of theInteraction Design Association’s (IxDA) first annual Interaction Awards.
The awards tip a hat to the best interaction design of 2012—to the work of designers who “create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use,” as the press materials say. The jury, led by V.P. of Creative at Frog and Co.Design expert blogger Robert Fabricant, selected 27 projects from an international pool of 300. Winning projects included mobile apps, web programs, car displays, and electronics, and spanned clients both big (Ford, Pepsi) and small (a science museum in Brazil).

The grand-prize winner was a tiny music player for the Sifteo Cubes.
Interaction design often involves using technology in novel ways to solve old problems. That’s exemplified neatly by the winner of the Best Concept category. Vitamins’s Out of the Box is a cell phone embedded in a large hardback book that doubles as an instruction manual. It’s conceived as an intuitive way for the elderly—and really, anyone tech-shy—to set up a new phone.
Many of this year’s winners went beyond just polishing the user-product experience to modify how consumers actually behave. Take ReadyForZero, a free program that empowers people to check their spending—and take charge of their personal finances—via simple-to-navigate, online tracking tools:
Or Smart Design’s dashboard for Ford’s 2010 hybrid sedans:
The SmartGauge with EcoGuide promotes fuel-efficient driving by using digital leaves to reveal how quickly your lead foot empties the gas tank (without being so distracting, you veer straight into a tree). The message: Good IxD shapes how people interact with individual products. But great interaction design can shape how people interact with the world.
The full list of winners:
Appie, IceMobile, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Best in Category, Optimizing)
B-Cycle, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, USA (Optimizing)
FoodHub: a digital community where local food people, ISITE Design, Portland, USA (Connecting)
Ford SmartGauge, Smart Design, San Francisco, USA (Best in Category, Disrupting)
Google Art Project, Possible Worldwide, New York, USA (Empowering)
HBO GO Mobile Applications, HUGE, New York, USA (Engaging)
I want ToBe… Course, ToBe Worldwide, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Empowering)
Interaction Cubes, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz/Museu da Vida, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Best in Category, Engaging)
LoopLoop, Stimulant/Sifteo, San Francisco, USA (Best in Category, Expressing; Best in Show)
Out of Box Experience - Accu-Chek Aviva, Frontend.com, Dublin, Ireland (Optimizing)
Out of the Box, Vitamins, London, England (Best Concept)
Pas a Pas, CIID/Ishac Bertran, Copenhagen, Denmark (Expressing, Best Student)
Peel, Peel, Mountain View, USA (Disrupting)
Pepsi Refresh Project, HUGE, New York, USA (Best in Category, Connecting)
Plug-In-Play, Rockwell Group, New York, USA (Connecting)
ReadyForZero, ReadyForZero, San Francisco, USA (Optimizing)
Spotify Box, Umea Institute of Design, Umea, Sweden (Disrupting)
Steps, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, USA (Connecting)
SWYP: See What You Print, Artefact, Seattle, USA (Disrupting) (Pictured up top)
Teaching Channel, Method, Inc., San Francisco, USA (Empowering)
The Film Room, R/GA, New York, USA (Expressing)
The Waste Land, Touch Press LLP, London, England (Disrupting)
University of Oregon Ford Alumni Center, Second Story Interactive Studios, Portland, USA (Engaging)
We Remember/ Explore 9/11, Local Projects LLC, New York, USA (Engaging)
Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), Microsoft, Seattle, USA (Connecting)
Xero, Xero, Wellington, New Zealand (Optimizing)

The Best Of The Best: The IxDA Selects The Best Interaction Design Of 2012

THE WINNERS SOLVE A NUMBER OF PROBLEMS IN NEW WAYS, FROM FORD’S SMART DASHBOARDS TO SIFTEO’S NOVEL GAMES TO A SYSTEM TO HELP MAKE CELL PHONES EASIER FOR THE ELDERLY.

A dashboard that encourages eco-friendly driving, a tiny music sequencer, and a cell phone geared toward old folks count among the winners of theInteraction Design Association’s (IxDA) first annual Interaction Awards.

The awards tip a hat to the best interaction design of 2012—to the work of designers who “create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use,” as the press materials say. The jury, led by V.P. of Creative at Frog and Co.Design expert blogger Robert Fabricant, selected 27 projects from an international pool of 300. Winning projects included mobile apps, web programs, car displays, and electronics, and spanned clients both big (Ford, Pepsi) and small (a science museum in Brazil).

The grand-prize winner was a tiny music player for the Sifteo Cubes.

Interaction design often involves using technology in novel ways to solve old problems. That’s exemplified neatly by the winner of the Best Concept category. Vitamins’s Out of the Box is a cell phone embedded in a large hardback book that doubles as an instruction manual. It’s conceived as an intuitive way for the elderly—and really, anyone tech-shy—to set up a new phone.

Many of this year’s winners went beyond just polishing the user-product experience to modify how consumers actually behave. Take ReadyForZero, a free program that empowers people to check their spending—and take charge of their personal finances—via simple-to-navigate, online tracking tools:

Or Smart Design’s dashboard for Ford’s 2010 hybrid sedans:

The SmartGauge with EcoGuide promotes fuel-efficient driving by using digital leaves to reveal how quickly your lead foot empties the gas tank (without being so distracting, you veer straight into a tree). The message: Good IxD shapes how people interact with individual products. But great interaction design can shape how people interact with the world.

The full list of winners:

  • Appie, IceMobile, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Best in Category, Optimizing)
  • B-Cycle, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Boulder, USA (Optimizing)
  • FoodHub: a digital community where local food people, ISITE Design, Portland, USA (Connecting)
  • Ford SmartGauge, Smart Design, San Francisco, USA (Best in Category, Disrupting)
  • Google Art Project, Possible Worldwide, New York, USA (Empowering)
  • HBO GO Mobile Applications, HUGE, New York, USA (Engaging)
  • I want ToBe… Course, ToBe Worldwide, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Empowering)
  • Interaction Cubes, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz/Museu da Vida, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Best in Category, Engaging)
  • LoopLoop, Stimulant/Sifteo, San Francisco, USA (Best in Category, Expressing; Best in Show)
  • Out of Box Experience - Accu-Chek Aviva, Frontend.com, Dublin, Ireland (Optimizing)
  • Out of the Box, Vitamins, London, England (Best Concept)
  • Pas a Pas, CIID/Ishac Bertran, Copenhagen, Denmark (Expressing, Best Student)
  • Peel, Peel, Mountain View, USA (Disrupting)
  • Pepsi Refresh Project, HUGE, New York, USA (Best in Category, Connecting)
  • Plug-In-Play, Rockwell Group, New York, USA (Connecting)
  • ReadyForZero, ReadyForZero, San Francisco, USA (Optimizing)
  • Spotify Box, Umea Institute of Design, Umea, Sweden (Disrupting)
  • Steps, Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, USA (Connecting)
  • SWYP: See What You Print, Artefact, Seattle, USA (Disrupting) (Pictured up top)
  • Teaching Channel, Method, Inc., San Francisco, USA (Empowering)
  • The Film Room, R/GA, New York, USA (Expressing)
  • The Waste Land, Touch Press LLP, London, England (Disrupting)
  • University of Oregon Ford Alumni Center, Second Story Interactive Studios, Portland, USA (Engaging)
  • We Remember/ Explore 9/11, Local Projects LLC, New York, USA (Engaging)
  • Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), Microsoft, Seattle, USA (Connecting)
  • Xero, Xero, Wellington, New Zealand (Optimizing)