How Do We Not Trash the Place?
rethinkDesign isn't limited to objects: Complex systems like major cities benefit from smart design too, especially in pursuit of becoming cleaner and more energy efficient. Last May, the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, announced that all vehicles in the city's taxi fleet would be hybrids by 2012. In this, the hundredth year of New York's yellow cab, there are already more than 300 hybrid cabs in service. These advanced Ford and Toyota SUVs and sedans signal the end of the ubiquitous yellow Crown Victoria. But new emissions and mileage standards for the city's yellow cabs are part of the city's goal to halve cab emissions within the next 10 years.
cooperateUrban bike sharing is part of a crop of design innovations predicated on sharing rather than keeping ideas and resources to ourselves. Bike-share operations that rely on a range of technologies-from smart card readers to collect payment to customized Google mapping applications that report the real-time availability of bikes for hire-are already proliferating in Europe. Climbing on the two-wheeled bandwagon, New York's Forum for Urban Design has just partnered with the Storefront for Art and Architecture to run a five-day exploration of options for introducing similar bike-sharing schemes to New York. The outcomes are documented at nybikeshare.org.
upcycleThe Heineken World Bottle was a noble (but failed) attempt at designing for a more sustainable future. Conceived in 1960, the square bottles were easily stackable, like bricks, so that 1,000 empty beers could build a 10-foot-by-10-foot shack. Sadly, the idea never made it into production.
Holly's pick:When we realize our dependence on petroleum raises the waters in Bangladesh, we reframe our sense of the space we occupy; When we consider the effect of plastics on our great grandkids, we shift our sense of time. The Home Joule, which monitors your house's energy consumption in real time, is part of a growing trend in elective accountability, where we're invited to modulate our consumption in response to something deeper than our own lifespan.-HOLLY KRETSCHMAR
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