Shifting Gears

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have caught on that I live in Los Angeles, which is ranked as one of the most congested cities in the world.

Not only that, but there is also a constant drive of new cars along the city streets. Crawling from one traffic light to another when I join the ranks of cars, I get a good glimpse at some of the new models from Lamborghini, Porsche, Tesla, BMW (especially popular it seems) and many others .

The most noticeable factor however, is similarity.

I read this article by Mashable a few days ago that features an electric car that doubles as an office to allow commuters to focus on work. Since reading this, I’ve sifted through numerous articles on our four wheeled transport favorites, including this article by the Economist that discusses the early days of the electric car and the approaching, well, combustion, of the internal combustion engine.

Considering a timeline that spans from the horse and carriage to modern day, it dawned on me that the shape and size of our commuter vehicles have stayed significantly similar in spite of the potential for change.

Could you guess some of the reasons why this is the case? From the shape of our roads to safety features and urban developments like bridges, tunnels and parking spaces, the design is entirely constrained by the characteristics of our infrastructure.

So what can change? Can we take cars off the road? Flying cars, specifically in Los Angeles, may be a closer future than many gas guzzlers would think, but again I see more similarities in design. While design constraints are limited to cost, safety, and practicality, cars and aircraft have been around long enough that these basic aspects of the design should be on the verge of total revolution.

What about VAR* integration with its limitless ability to create new environments? I’d love to have the input of some of the top minds in architecture and design to polish these plain/plane designs. We have such an ability to create, so I look forward to the possibility of flying cars to lift off in more than one way.

While discussing stagnant designs, these comments stuck with me, “… we cling on to what is familiar. This even permeates design, and why, when we encounter something truly different, our reaction is often distaste,” said SM.

We find comfort in the familiar, but I think more comfort can be found in a day without the worst freeway commute in America.

By @scifiannemarie

 

*VAR- virtual and augmented reality

 

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