The work of photographer and filmmaker Jan Dirk van der Burg shows trails: narrow and unpaved paths created by being walked or ridden over again and again. They follow the organic movements of people who move through the world on foot or by bicycle. In this way, they call into question the sharply and clearly delineated spaces created on the drawing board by infrastructure and city planners. Here, trails represent resistance, small gestures of civil disobedience. They protest against this will to order and design, which blankets everything and yet makes no sense in daily life. They appear wherever the planners of the still car friendly world did not reckon with people who have a mind of their own.
Attempting to Capture a Place
Surveillance cameras have become an integral part of cityscapes in many parts of Europe. But cameras are not neutral companions: everything goes into these devices and is transmitted. Someone, somewhere else, watches, evaluates, processes, analyses, and documents it all. What else? We don’t know exactly, because much of it is kept under lock and key. Kyle McDonald wants to understand how new technologies affect or influence us. He uploads video recordings of public spaces onto the internet, revealing what is normally only seen by others. Anyone can comment on what they see online: encounters, arguments, rain, sun. People become objects of entertainment, sometimes amusement. McDonald thus makes visible how this ubiquitous media armament is rapidly relegating ethical questions—why who is allowed to see what and how—to the background.
Critical Mass for Freedom and Movement
Every last Friday of the month, cyclists meet in both large and small cities to take to the streets in convoy and as sheer mass. The principle of this gathering uses a rule of the road traffic regulations according to which a group of at least twelve cyclists is considered a vehicle and can, therefore, pass through a traffic light that turns red. Those who cycle in front decide where to go. The cyclists want to draw attention to the fact that even today, the car-friendly city from the last century is still a reality in many places. Thus, Critical Mass is a peaceful and solidary protest against the hegemony of motorized traffic in urban planning worldwide.
All-Around Service for Urban Mobility Needs
Whim is a concept designed to completely rethink mobility for the growing Helsinki metropolitan region. It is a result of broad-based cooperation between stakeholders from the private and public sectors, as well as universities. The idea: an all-round service for the complex mobility needs of everyone who uses the city. The plan: the development of a universal app for smartphones, designed to make the use of many different, mainly shared, or more sustainable transport offers easier, more intuitive, and cheaper. The immediate goal: to make choosing and using public transport as attractive as possible. In the long term, the target is to abolish the private car.
How Residential Areas Become Car-Free
In Barcelona, the idea of the superblock—an urban area made up of several smaller city blocks and bordered by large streets—has been reinvented in recent years. It promises solutions for cities with high emission levels caused by motorized vehicles. The reduction of traffic means that the value of public spaces increases or that a space becomes truly public for the first time, and existing uses are increased or new ones made possible. Six such superblocks have been realized in Barcelona to date. Fears that the retail trade would suffer as a result of reduced access for cars have not come true. Instead, the number of trips made on foot or by bicycle have gone up and the air quality has improved. In recent years, other cities have also begun to implement the model since its potential becomes apparent everywhere when you look at the city from the perspective of those who walk instead of drive.
Through the City, Again
The Mobile Zebra Crossing is a portable device that can be deployed when encountering unwieldy street situations. Its purpose is to make it easy for pedestrians to traverse in places where there are no legal crossing options. However, because of the size and corresponding weight of the carpet-crossing, it cannot be used by one person alone. It takes many who must be willing to carry and roll. The crossing of an otherwise uncrossable street consequentially becomes a collective action, a kind of protest march. While this artifact may seem playful, it also points to the stubbornly persistent segregation of various groups in urban space. Celebrating the most sustainable of all modes of transportation, the Mobile Zebra Crossing engages in questions about how a just city for pedestrians might look.