And… Bike project.

November 10, 2008

So, I’m sitting here listening to people talk about their projects for our latest project, and I’m not so sure about how this is going.

Overall, we have a few groups doing unique projects. In particular, the student pedestrian group is doing something that looks like it could turn out cool, and roller skates could turn out cool if it goes well. the MARTA groups seem like they could go well, although I’d worry about anything to do with an interface on a kiosk – it gets far too easy to get over complicated and unimpresive, or undercomplicated and not as functional as you thought it was.

And then you have the bike projects.

Yes, Then you have the bike projects, and some of the other pedistrian projects and one of the MARTA projects. The only problem is, they’re all turning out with a focus I don’t think was intended with the project. The problem is, there are lots of reasons people say they don’t ride bikes, or walk to work, or ride MARTA from the northern Burbs. Safety, comfort, carrying their crap, stupid people driving cars, etc. But lets be honest – lets say someone created a product to solve one of these issues. I make a super-safety-bubble that inflates and wisks me to safety out of any situation, seconds before the mugger can get to me, before the car creams me into a paste, etc, safely depositing me in front of the nearest police station.

Now I’ve conquered safety. tons of people can start riding their bikes, MARTA, walking, right? I’ll sell it for a that solves all social ills and ushers in the next kingdom of happiness! And people still don’t ride their bikes because they’re too damn lazy, and they still can’t carry their stuff or it doesn’t have a Sirus satilite radio embedded in the dash. And really, the safety issue is the fault of the infrastructure, the American City is built around the automobile.

So lets summarize – the ‘real’ issue when you drill down to it, is either improper infrastructure (out of the scope of the project), or social issues (such as laziness, expectation of comfort and convienance, etc). These are also really the root cause of the city design originally.

So, you put a bunch of people in a room with the same design brief, and even though we tried to branch out, we’re all ending up at the same place – how do we get lazy bums off their air-conditioned seats and onto a bike (or marta, or walking)? The reason the Children Pedestrian group’s project is working is because they’re addressing a small group of people who do walk already, working to help them. The roller skate group is interesting since its different enough – but the question is, can they sell it as a viable alternative for getting around.

In sort, I think my group and most of the others suffered from a lack of focus. Because we were looking at such a big picture problem, you get the big picture issues – which just happen to be the same as the other groups. Which makes for a boring project, and one that is hard to excel at, since someone will always take a different tact that may end up paying off, or that looks cooler for the presentation, or whatever – it breeds more direct competition in an us vs them sort of way.

We’ll see how it goes.



  1. Are you saying my project will fail?

    No I agree. A lot of people have generic problems (myself included) that are trying to fix symptoms of a poorly planned city.

    I was aking myself a bunch of “what ifs” , like “what if the city was designed better” “what if people wern’t lazy” but it is what it is.

    So in Summary: I agree

  2. well said. As you know I to am annoyed with this project.

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