mobility · system design
How could future mobility help bridge communities?
Pittsburgh is growing at a fast pace with the increase number in students and young working professionals coming into the city. This influx of individuals, however, is creating a social division between the old and the new, causing issues such as gentrification in many of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. Our team worked with Bridgestone to ideate how this problem can be solved through future technology in mobility.
Our team designed a vehicle with adjustable and expandable walls that can form assemblies to create event spaces in city neighborhoods and facilitate social interactions between communities.
My teammates and I worked together on generative research and ideation. Individually, I was responsible for the technical design, 3D prototyping, and mock-ups.
Susie Lee, Wenjie Li
Similar to food trucks and pop-up farmer’s markets, our system, Silta, moves temporary community spaces around different neighborhoods.
Each Silta unit is operated by autonomous driving. They have the size of a bus, which fits into current infrastructure perfectly.
Each unit can be fully opened to create dynamic spaces for different events
Significantly increases area of space the vehicles create while maintaining the compact nature of the units
Walls with controllable rigidity
Walls are soft and flexible to be folded in the miura form, but rigid when in the expanded form to support people and other items (inspired by jamSheets)
The small sub-wheels enable alternative traveling directions and ensure accurate and efficient assembly of the units
We conducted secondary research on three areas:
This round of research gave us an overview of what future mobility technology we could use as tools to solve problems.
Mobility as service
AI & big data
Data from research (see appendix) also confirmed our assumption that Pittsburgh is a socially divided city.
This led us to focus on exploring how people and communities can be connected.
Interactive booklet study
We initially targeted our focus on bridging “the old” and “the new” of Pittsburgh.
So we interviewed both newcomers and local residents with two interactive booklets (see appendix) respectively.
We want to understand their lifestyle regarding mobility and views of Pittsburgh.
We also conducted an open-space user study using an interactive poster with two questions:
We want to see how people connect with other neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.
People in Pittsburgh live within small physical and social radii, which is isolating them from other communities and ripping apart the social fabric of society.
To solve the problem we identified, we brainstormed multiple ideas using methodologies such as Things from the Future exercise.
We reviewed our ideas with Bridgestone and our instructor.
With their feedback, we altered our perspective and changed our goal from “motivating people to go to places” to “bringing experiences to people”.
We ideated the final solution to be a vehicle that would operate in a way similar to food trucks and bring experiences from one neighborhood to another.
Design and Prototyping
We drew sketches of our visions of vehicles individually, then selected highlights of our ideas to come up with a combined design.
We presented to Bridgestone our design and storyboards about how these vehicles can be useful in different scenarios.
They had a positive reaction to the design, and provided further opportunity areas such as smart materials.
Foam core prototyping
We conducted a value analysis with the help of a stakeholder map (see appendix), and came to the conclusion that Silta is promising because it creates values for various stakeholders.
Value for individuals:
Value for businesses:
Value for society:
Pittsburgh demographic data
Interactive booklet questions
For local residents:
© 2019 mike yilin dong