New York, Parsons & Anti-disciplinary Adventures

Roleplaying the bus of the future

Roleplaying the bus of the future

Earlier this spring we were invited to New York and to Parsons School for design with the purpose of exploring the future of mobility in gridlocked cities. Arriving as an interdisciplinary group from Stockholm we were soon divided into teams with extraordinarily talented students from the MFA in transdisciplinary design. What followed was an amazing couple of days where we, in the spirit of design thinking, set out to observe actual needs and ideate out-of-the-box solutions using the tools of speculative design. Here are a few highlights.

On the first morning we were given an unusual task:  Travel to a part of the city that you have never been, using a mode of transport you never used before. Look for signals from the future.

In Bronx looking for fragments of the future

In Bronx looking for fragments of the future

After collecting a few somewhat questionable items from our new borough, we travelled back to the studio in Manhattan for some brainstorming around how public transport could become a more attractive alternative to the car.

Our first prototype was a floating bank that would be able to serve multiple functions after rising sea levels had put lower Manhattan under water.

Future scenario and speculative design: What if lower Manhattan was under water?

Future scenario and speculative design: What if lower Manhattan was under water?

Prototyping a floating multi-purpose bank of the future

Prototyping a floating multi-purpose bank of the future

During the second day we decided to take a more realistic approach and developed a bus for the future. The idea was to create a bus that would decrease the time-sensitivity of its passengers by tailoring to their needs of comfort, tranquility and connection.The result was the Tribus (which you can see us roleplaying into reality at the top of the page).

Other projects included ways of manipulating time by dividing the city into different time-zones, creating a way for senior citizens to control traffic lights and turning a crowded subway-commute into a meditation session.

Manipulating time in order to decrease gridlock in New York city

Manipulating time in order to decrease gridlock in New York city

The red feather in Anton's hand is in fact not a feather but a time-saving device for senior citizens

The red feather in Anton's hand is in fact not a feather but a time-saving device for senior citizens

For more details on our workshop click here and here

After an intense workshop we were invited to participate in the first ever Verge NYC conference, a student led design event bringing together creative thinkers, field experts, and change makers to Parsons. During a couple of inspiring days we got to experience everything from jazz-improvisation to purpose-driven workshops and creative movement. A fantastic initiative that we hope to bring to Stockholm in the near future.

Jamer Hunt introducing the Verge NYC Conference

Jamer Hunt introducing the Verge NYC Conference

Verge NYC - Action in the face of uncertainty

Verge NYC - Action in the face of uncertainty

Interactive Jazz Session led by Riley Mulherkar

Interactive Jazz Session led by Riley Mulherkar

Two very excited mind-apothecaries

Two very excited mind-apothecaries

A transdisciplinary dialogue on uncertainty and inequality

A transdisciplinary dialogue on uncertainty and inequality

All in all, an amazing opportunity to experience the power of transdisciplinary design in tackling wicked problems. A big thanks to SSES, Parsons and Ford for making this happen!

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