small is beautiful & an urban mobility project . . .

an industrial design studio project from the archives and wentworth institute of technology, in boston, massachusetts. in the spring and summer of 2004, the smart (swiss designed, daimler owned) wasn’t allowed in the united states yet. (smart will tell you that if every every vehicle sold in the united state was a smart, this would free up 24,242 miles of roadway) also in 2004, the bmw version of the new, mini cooper had only been introduced in the states three years earlier. i was working with a very good group of my industrial students on a small urban mobility project. i gave the project the working title of i-detour, because i felt that the american automobile industry, in the last fifteen years, had an incredible detour back into a rather nostalgic period of time (again, this is five years before general motors and the chrysler corporation file for bankruptcy). we started out the semester by reading jane holtz kay’s, “asphalt nation” and paying attention to the good work being done by the late, *william mitchell, at massachusetts institute of technology’s media lab. in addition, betty lou mc clanahan, as new england chapter president of the society of automotive engineers, was able to be an outside sponsor for our wentworth studio project (betty lou mc clanahan also works at mit’s media lab, with cc++car research area). we considered e. f. schmacher’s “small is beautiful” concept and a quote from bucky fuller gave an interesting perspective on private vehicles in relation to public spaces, such as urban street:

“all the beds & bedrooms around the world are empty two-thirds of the time.
all the automobiles are empty & motionless five-sixths of the day. there are two main causes for this vast usefulness. firstly, we try to do everything at peak loads. secondly, we try to ‘own’ too many objects that we use too infrequently to justify ‘ownership’. ” inventory of world resources, by r. buckminster fuller

here are the digital 3d renderings of the student’s final projects:
01| Anna Engström’s & Julie Kowal’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

02| James Sandiford’s & James Zabala’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

03| Patrick Pietrantonio’s & Jay Pupecki’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

04| Christopher Parow’s & Brett Smith’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

05| Bryce Gibson’s & Holly Reading’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

06| Juan Flores’s & Timothy O’Melia’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

07| Brian Jones’s & Matthew Sheehan’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

08| James Bishai’s & Matthew Dougherty’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

09| Emmanuel Espiritu’s & John Hughes’
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

10| Ryan Kain’s & Ross Mehaffey’s
© Urban Mobility Project, 2004

*william j mitchell, of massachusetts institute of technology’s media lab, passed away on friday, june 11, 2010. mitchell was a members of the smart cities research group, creating innovative ways to change how we live in urban areas.
smart cities research group: the media lab’s, concept car project

concept car project – gehry • gm • massachusetts institute of technology’s media lab, autumn 2003 through spring 2004

a link to mitchell joachim’s terreform website, joachim worked with mitchell and the mit smart cities research group

transology (trans·ol·o·gy pronunciation: tran(t)s-’ä-l&-jE function: nounInflected form(s): plural -gies etymology: latin transportare, from trans- + -logie -logy):
reinventing the wheel

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posted 18 January 2011

categories education