By Joe Simpson.
Art Center college of Design in Pasadena, California, last week worked hard to cement its position as a leader in sustainable mobility. Building on the success of last year's Summit "Designing Sustainable Mobility" this year the focus moved onto "Systems, Cities and Sustainable Mobility" - which seemed apt when you consider that for the first time in history the majority of the world's population now live in cities.
At first sight, swapping the bombast of presenters such as Chris Bangle and Robert F Kennedy Jnr. for the quiet, considered nature of environmentalist Paul Hawken and engineer Gordon Murray (on a video) seemed like a risky move. The line up was much less compelling this year - but in truth perhaps reflected the diverse nature of this Summit's subject, and we saw dazzling presentations from architects, planners, car designers, technologist and environmentalists. Not all agreed, but the central position taken by most picked up on the comments made by Dean Kamen last year - that the key problem lies not in redesigning individual parts - such as the engine of a car or aeroplane, but in redeveloping the "systems model" (which is fundamentally broken) that exists in our cities.
This made for some interesting contrasts in approach. World Changing editor Alex Steffen led proceeding with a compelling talk about our "broken vision of prosperity", and directly clashed with vehicle designer Henrik Fisker who followed Steffen with a talk outlining his vision of the plug-in hybrd sports Sedan of the future (the Karma concept, which cowered in the back of the wind tunnel).
As with last year, there were a myriad of insights, which we'd struggle to do justice to in one piece here. So we'll try and post a wider range of insight and analysis in further blogs over the next few days.
Images: Joseph Simpson for The Movement Design Bureau - images are available for syndication under a creative commons license. Please reference this page.
Posted by Joseph Simpson on 18th February 2008