24. October 2012 / Peter Zöch

Mobility of the Future: American Dream Reloaded

What is the future of mobility? And how can this shape our cities and urban areas? Höweler + Yoon Architecture provide some possible answers. They won with their project "Shareway 2030" the 100,000 euro Audi Urban Future Award 2012. Their proposals are in the metropolitan area between Boston and Washington, DC, hence the name BosWash. The 750 kilometre long agglomeration belt is suitable as a laboratory for new mobility concepts: More than 53 million people live there and earn a third of the gross domestic product of the United States. Dense urban areas and towns alternate with suburban areas and diffuse urban landscapes. Many infrastructure projects will soon reach the end of their life cycle.

Shareway in the City, © Höweler + Yoon Architecture, BosWash: Shareway 2030/USA

Essential to the vision of the winning team are mega infrastructure corridors and a new culture of sharing, which is based on a new interpretation of the American Dream. Central concepts of mobility with a high-speed corridor, building on existing highways, and huge infrastructure projects such as a major airport in Newark are to ensure future mobility. Private and public transport are linked with new mobility platforms. At first glance, "Shareway" is a big believer in technology – but working to share resources, which could also give impetus to change economic models. In addition to the discussion of technology-centric mobility concepts, the question remains interesting to see whether a new culture of sharing as an interpretation of the American Dream is a popular one in the United States. Or whether such visions are vilified as a socialist or communist excess. Answers one might find in the "Guideline for the city," a guide the architects will develop on their vision to supply instructions for other metropolitan areas.

Shareway on the platform, + Yoon Architecture © Höweler, BosWash: Shareway 2030/USA

Audi Urban Future Award 2012 from THE AUDI URBAN FUTURE INITIATIVE on Vimeo.


Interesting ideas for the future of mobility also drive the other projects. Five international teams worked on mobility and urban scenarios for five different urban regions. Besides Höweler + Yoon Architects for BosWash, the invited teams were Superpool with a vision for Istanbul, CRIT with ideas for Mumbai, Node Architecture & Urbanism with scenarios for the Pearl River Delta and Urban-Think Tank with visions for São Paulo. From all of the different (and difficult to compare) concepts and proposals there had to be a winner named – probably due to PR and marketing value. Anyway here are the jury statements to the other contributions:

Superpool, Istanbul, Turkey

The Jury noted especially: Superpool’s highly original online loyalty platform, called Park, which harnesses the power of social networks to increase the use of shared transport, reduce the presence of parked private cars, and thereby free up space on Istanbul’s back streets for shared social and cultural activities.


CRIT, Mumbai, Indien

The Jury noted especially: the remarkable design tools and catalogues, with the family name of Being Nicely Messy, created by the Mumbai-based collective Crit. For Crit, mobility in the abstract is neither a positive nor negative value; what matters is a city's capacity to foster valuable connections and transactions among diverse populations. In that spirit, their proectasets out to help different stakeholders in the city explore near-future development options collaboratively – rather than, as now, as non-communicating adversaries.

Node Architecture & Urbanism, Pearl River Delta, China

The Jury noted especially: the radical concept of “cloud logistics” and buried transport infrastructure proposed by the design firm Node. Node’s proposal reasserts cure presence and sociality of people on the truck and pollution-damaged streets of the ‘World Factory’ that has grown to occupy the Pearl River Delta in China;

Urban-Think Tank, São Paulo, Brasilien

The Jury noted especially: the socially inclusive and joyful celebration of movement for its own sake – in both physical and social ways – in the multi-dimensional, multi-velocity Parangole concept developed by Urban Think Tank for São Paulo in Brazil.

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