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Call In the Designers

In any field, designers have to synthesize competing interests to come to an elegant solution. Imagine what they could do to...

In any field, designers have to synthesize competing interests to come to an elegant solution. Imagine what they could do to transportation.

Centuries of artificially cheap energy have established an expectation of ubiquitous personal mobility and freight transportation in the developed economies of the world. This expectation has caused four problematic consequences: serious ecological degradation, urban congestion, human health issues, and rapid depletion of finite energy sources.As developing economies aspire to the same levels of materialism and mobility as the rest of us, our global community faces an untenable future. We are all faced with an enormous and complex problem that needs radical solutions. While this is a daunting task, there are tremendous opportunities to break some historically bad habits and create innovative, smarter ways to mobilize ourselves and to deliver the food and goods we need to live. Accelerated by some inevitable truths about energy that we will have to face in the not-too-distant future, such changes are possible.However, it is not just science, technology, or astute business and political philosophies that will provide the answers. In order to make real changes that bring truly sustainable transportation and personal mobility, the populations of the world have to be inspired and excited about embracing these changes. Human beings are inclined to change when they see that it will improve on what they already experience. This is where the role of the designer comes into play.Creating sustainable transportation, particularly in urban environments, will be a truly multidisciplinary effort. Engineers, sociologists, urban planners, scientists, architects, designers, policy makers, manufacturers, economists, and regulators all have to work together to create solutions. But it is my belief that designers can contribute far more to these innovative transportation solutions than just compelling design. I believe that while this will still be an important role for designers to play, an even more important one will be to facilitate all these diverse specialists and experts-to be what we call "systems balancers."What's a system balancer? If you look at the role of an industrial or car designer in a large company today, they have a conflict of interest. On the one hand, they need to design products that their enterprise can sell profitably. On the other hand, they are also on the side of the customer, making sure that they design a product of value that excites them, but also meets all their needs and expectations. More often than not, they fulfill these conflicting roles with aplomb by working with all the other disciplines that design and develop complex industrial products. They frequently have to make judgment calls on issues that are not always popular with their specialist colleagues. Designers have to ensure that the end user benefits from a well-balanced product. This is what I mean by designers acting as systems balancers.In the far larger and more complex challenge of creating sustainable urban mobility systems, designers will need to develop these skills to a much higher level to become big-picture thinkers as well as solutions experts. By so doing, transportation designers of the future can develop the wisdom, clarity of vision, and leadership to influence high-level transportation policy makers. This would ensure that transportation and mobility of the future would be as compelling as they are ecologically responsible and economically sustainable.This is why Art Center College of Design, with its legacy of being a leader in transportation design education, felt a profound responsibility to create a series of summits on the topic of sustainable mobility. After the third summit, in February, we were very encouraged by the response from the diverse experts who attended all of the summits. It seems as though these beliefs are resonating all around. I look forward to accelerating the momentum for our remaining planned Sustainable Mobility Summits, after which we have promised to establish a set of guiding principles for creating future sustainable mobility.


Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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