Much has been made of how autonomous cars will change our lifestyles and the economy. But how will they alter the look and feel of cities and urban architecture?
To answer that question Blank Space, an online architectural think tank, partnered with the City of New York to hold the Driverless Future Challenge. "To ensure that New York City takes full advantage of the benefits of autonomous transportation — rather than let it unfold haphazardly with no accommodations and restrictions — [the point of the challenge is] to solicit actionable solutions for a driverless future in one of the most complex cities in the world."
Here are the four chosen finalists, and their vision for what NYC could become once the cars drive themselves.
The "Public Square" concept, by FXFOWLE Architects and Sam Schwartz Engineering, focuses on how to use the streetside space that will be reclaimed when the need for outdoor parking spots disappears:
The "Urban Oasis" concept by Lily Shi, Yodai Yasunaga and Jiaming Zhang seeks to solve the problem of food deserts by creating direct-from-farm trackable, mobile and adaptive food carts/trucks:
The "sAVe" concept by IBI Group would use autonomous vehicles to address "transit deserts:"
The "QueueY" concept by Daniel Hui, Danil Nagy and Spencer Wright tackles the important problem of how to distribute autonomous vehicle pick-up and drop-off spots at crowded transit hubs in such a way as to decrease congestions:
I think competitions like these are a great idea for getting the relevant city planning folks to start thinking about these issues, and getting community feedback. Speaking of which, which of the finalists was your favorite, which do you think is the most do-able, and which do you think is the most unrealistic?