This post is in response to an idea mentioned on this post. It addresses the major issue in every city of transportation of it’s workers on a day to day basis. So much space is taken up with sidewalks and city streets, that we have wasted a lot of space that could have been used to enjoy the city.

“It’s not about how many people are walking in the city, it’s about how many people have stopped walking in order to enjoy something happening in the city.”

This quote offers another way of looking at city planning. If we are going to fill the spaces between buildings with different navigation paths for cars, bikes, and people, then we should at least make them multi functional and serve in some other way to the people using and paying for them. Thinking that our streets could be dynamically changing objects is a little strange. More dynamic than the change in people walking around on them. If there was some sort of interactivity to the objects along the sidewalks, or some other displays that enforce interaction between the walker and the surrounding environment.

  • Possibly lights that change color depending on how many people are currently using that piece of the sidewalk. Or ambient sound that changes in the same way.
  • A counter at every light that counts how many people are walking towards it, or better yet, shows a data visualization of pedestrians around the city with emphasis on the corner you are standing on.
  • How about a projector on every street light that creates a virtual footprint every time you take a step

The ideas I could come up with are almost endless, and to people who use the street everyday, these things would eventually be taken for grantid and ignored. But every once in a while you may see the data visualization on the corner light post and be interested in the patterns. Or maybe you are already really interested in them an want to study it more carefully. Whether you are interested in it or not, why not? Why not make the most of the space we have. If creativity is what pushes us forward, enhances our lives, builds new tech, and inspires great people, shouldn’t we be trying to surround ourselves with it as much as possible?