Bold urban visions.
Imagine a city that functioned with the seamless ingenuity of nature: the interconnected systems--from school, to store, to street, to restaurant--benefiting and feeding one another without depleting resources.
Re:Vision, a group that has launched a series of urban design competitions, has asked contestants to think boldly about what that model city might look like. The first part of the competition, Re:Volt, looked at intelligent urban energy. The second, Re:Route, focused on transportation. Three additional contests are underway: Re:Store, about urban economy; Re:Connect, about urban planning urban planning: see city planning.
Programs pursued as a means of improving the urban environment and achieving certain social and economic objectives. ; and finally, Re:Vision, remaking re·make
tr.v. re·made , re·mak·ing, re·makes
To make again or anew.
1. The act of remaking.
2. Something in remade form, especially a new version of an earlier movie or song. a city block into a thriving thrive
intr.v. thrived or throve , thrived or thriv·en , thriv·ing, thrives
1. To make steady progress; prosper.
2. mixed used area.
Stacey Frost, who founded Re:Vision, says the response has been impressive. These designers, she says, understand how to work with existing infrastructure. "It isn't sexy," says Frost, "but somebody has to look at the whole system. You're maximizing resources. The closed loop has tremendous opportunity for revolutionary design."
Sarah Atwood, a winner in the Re:Volt competition, proposed an "Active Energy Play Space," which harnesses kids' energy as they scamper across playground Playground - A visual language for children, developed for Apple's Vivarium Project. OOPSLA 89 or 90? equipment to power LED lights that keep the playgrounds lit at night. Another winning design team offered "Cell Block," which takes city blocks from inefficiency to zero impact through a nature-based, replicating cell model.
"The hardest part was designing systems that are at the intersection intersection /in·ter·sec·tion/ (-sek´shun) a site at which one structure crosses another.
a site at which one structure crosses another. of functionality, good design and affordability," says team member Kate Randolph. The group brought together existing green technologies, from generating hydro-power from gray water, to creating biofuels from local restaurants and growing living roofs. In each of the completed contests, certain trends arose. In the case of Re:Volt, it was combining energy systems--wind, solar, hydroelectric. De-signer Brian McLaughlin's "Recharge re·charge
tr.v. re·charged, re·charg·ing, re·charg·es
To charge again, especially to reenergize a storage battery.
re " system involved solar arrays and wind turbines that respond to weather patterns.
For Re:Route, it was a focus on human-powered energy, mass transit mass transit, public transportation systems designed to move large numbers of passengers. Types and Advantages
Mass transit refers to municipal or regional public shared transportation, such as buses, streetcars, and ferries, open to all on a and greater integration of technology. Kaytea Petro, one of the winners behind the "UrbanPOD" concept, said the way her team approached the problem of transportation was radically different. "Under the traditional model, you would start by designing a bus system: getting out a map and configuring routes," Petro says. "Under the systems thinking model, you start by saying, 'We need to get people around the city quickly and cheaply with minimal traffic. How can we do that?'"
Ant colonies An ant colony is an underground lair where ants live. Colonies consist of a series of underground chambers, connected to each other and the surface of the earth by small tunnels. There are rooms for nurseries, food storage, and mating. were one source of inspiration, and one of the group's most innovative designs involved a city-wide wireless network that allows users to shop from kiosks for later deliveries to consolidate shipping routes and eliminate unnecessary car trips. Another team's "Intelligently Integrated Transport" design would enable city residents to alert a central computer via cell phone that they needed a ride so that buses could be routed efficiently, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the needs of actual passengers. "At its best, sustainable design is about designing components that perform multiple functions and thereby add value to existing products or services," says team member Bob Batz.
As of press time, the Re:Vision team had not yet chosen a host city where the winning block design will be put into effect. The team was offered Moss Point, Mississippi Moss Point is a city, north of Pascagoula, in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States. It is part of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 17,653 at the 2000 census. , but declined, since that city has only 15,000 residents. "We weren't sure we could do the project there and have it be economically viable," says Frost.