Friday Fun: Vote for the Audi Urban Future Award!
"Rush Hour Slalom." Photo by Tommy Vohs/Flickr.

What will the future of urban mobility look like? Audi has been seeking innovative proposals for its Urban Future Award 2014, and you can help choose the U.S. representative to the challenge. Photo by Tommy Vohs/Flickr.

By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. To prepare for this unprecedented growth in the global urban population, Audi has been seeking standout solutions for future mobility in metropolitan regions – and you can help choose the U.S. representative! The U.S. candidates for the Audi Urban Future Award 2014 have been narrowed down to three final teams, and Internet users can vote for their favorite up until January 5, 2014. The winner will compete with teams from around the world for the 2014 Award.

Why is this challenge so important? Take it from Mark Wigley, Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture: “The future of our society is dependent on our ability to create mobility systems that will sustain 70% of 9 billion people [the projected global population in 2050].”

Meet the finalists

The theme of this year’s competition is how to put information into action and use data to influence mobility in cities of the future. The three final U.S. teams represent varied approaches to integrating data and mobility systems – a new online marketplace for mobility, the human love of play and what that means for mobility, and the flexible relationship between the city and mobility.

The first team is made up of Philip Parsons, urban planner and founder of Sasaki Strategies, and Federico Parolotto, mobility expert and principal of Mobility in Chain. They imagine a comprehensive digital mobility marketplace for cities, which would harmoniously coordinate individual traffic with public transport. This system would allow users to choose the best means of transport based on cost, time, comfort, or sustainability. Sound good to you? Check out their speed pitch below.

Audi Urban Future Award 2014 – Speed Pitch – Philip Parsons & Federico Parolotto from THE AUDI URBAN FUTURE INITIATIVE on Vimeo.

The second team is Kevin Slavin, assistant professor and founder of the Playful Systems group at MIT Media Lab, and Eric Rodenbeck, founder and CEO of Stamen Design. Their thesis is that humans are not moved by efficiency and optimization, but by desire and delight. Based on this premise, their proposal is focused on how to make human mobility more enjoyable, and more in line with human passion and creativity. If you’re a free spirit, here’s their pitch:

Audi Urban Future Award 2014 – Speed Pitch – Kevin Slavin & Eric Rodenbeck from THE AUDI URBAN FUTURE INITIATIVE on Vimeo.

The final team is a trio of Axel Kilian, computational designer and assistant professor at Princeton University, Ben Fry, founder and principal of Fathom Information Design, and Saul Griffith, inventor and founder of Otherlab. They propose using data modeling as the starting point for changing mobility in urban spaces – their approach will use data sets around mobility to create more flexible mobility solutions. What if cars and other modes of transport could communicate about the needs of their users to make multi-modal mobility seamless? If you’d like a mobility system that reads your mind, this pitch might be for you.

Audi Urban Future Award 2014 – Speed Pitch – Axel Kilian & Ben Fry & Saul Griffith from THE AUDI URBAN FUTURE INITIATIVE on Vimeo.

Whichever team you choose as your favorite, be sure to vote by January 5, 2014 – and tell us what you envision for the future of urban mobility in the comment section!

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