We hear a lot about the next leap forward in transportation, whether it be Elon Musk's Hyperloop or Tel Aviv's floating pods. But in focusing on the latest fantasy, are we harming our ability to address the problems of the present?
"History is full of examples of the next great transport idea," writes Eric Jaffe. "Today it's the floating pod, yesterday it was Elon Musk's Hyperloop, last year it was intercontinental airless tubes, back in 1908 it was Thomas Edison 'perfecting' the electric car battery, and so on."
"But the truth is transportation has very rarely changed with a great deal of speed or spectacle," he contends. "The past is witness to mobility's incremental transformations."
"Psychologists have studied the human tendency toward fantasy, and they've found that imagining a crisply rendered future has the unintended effect of dampening our motivation to achieve it," Jaffe explains. "By editing out the 'obstacles, problems, and setbacks' we'll face en route to that goal, our fantasized futures might actually frustrate any real progress, as work from Gabriele Oettingen of New York University has found [PDF]."
"In other words, we're far better off with good expectations than great fantasies."
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans
Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.
Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16
State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.
Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year
Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.