Can multiple time zones exist within one city? and How this future looks like? Interzone is a speculative inquiry into the future of mobility for an overpopulated world.
Peak commuting hours in cities cause traffic jams, accidents and stress. Regardless of efforts such as car-sharing or increased public transit, the routine of daily life dictates that people travel at similar times during the course of a day. Instead of employing traditional means of traffic mitigation, this project inverts the way we think about scheduling. Why not change time itself?
Interzone proposes the idea of layering time within one city, as a strategy to mitigate congestion due to our shared habits of time. Inspired by the way cities layer space, this concept experiments with layering time, which translates into three different timezones within one city, each two hours apart. Our design proposal examines what would happen if we would understand time as flexible value, and what new implications and innovations that this idea could bring.
Roles: Design Strategist, Design Researcher, Visual Designer, Production.
Methods: Speculative and Critical Design, Rapid Prototyping, Scenario Making, Storytelling.
Collaborators: Stephanie Lukito and Ricardo Dutra.
Partners: Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, Ford Motor Company.
Achievements: Milan Design week 2016, DMY Berlin 2016 New Talent Award Winning.
The challenge: This project started as a collaboration with Ford Motor Company to propose new approaches to mobility, for people, goods and services. We were challenged, to think about mobility outside of existing solutions. When we think in innovative solutions to tackle mobility issues, we think in driverless cars, or new services such Uber and City Bike, but we wanted to pass those solutions and go beyond, because as designers we have the responsibility to think bigger.
2. The Methodology
The core of this project was the use of speculative design, a design approach which allows to question fundamental assumptions about the world we live in. We ask “What if?” and then ferret out the implications. Through the lens of speculative design, we worked through various design methods in order to dig deeply into our topic, as well as understanding overlapping systems, not just what we think about in mobility traditionally such as infrastructures and traffic, but to think also about social systems, customs, behaviors, needs, etc.
Our program hosted a 3-day design sprint in collaboration with the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, in order to rethink the future of mobility.
3. Primary Research and Insights Gathering
To start, we journeyed the city with a detached perspective to find clues about possible future implications of mobility. From this observation, we were prompted by how our physical infrastructures are layered. We have roads, bridges, bridges on top of bridges, and we also have underground levels. All of this efforts aim to tackle congestion in our cities, and as overpopulation increases these efforts seem to be not enough. Because we still experience two peak hours during the day, in the morning and in the evening. Does it matter how many services you bulk up? We saw nothing that could touch the core problem of gridlock: people are all moving at the same time.
4. The Proposal
Taking inspiration from our “layered city”, we questioned: What if we could layer time within one city? And how our world would look like? We are proposing to organize NYC in 3 different time zones called Interzones. We would still have our NYC Standard Time, one new zone would be two hours behind Eastern Standard Time, and the other two hours ahead. Ideally this initiative would disperse our traffic flow.
5. Visualization Tools
The speculative design methodology allowed us the freedom to venture into far ideas, by taking this idea as reality, then seeing its implications through artifact and scenario making. For example we mapped out a regular day in a family of three, and how their schedule would look like if they would live in a different timezone. We can see the benefits from being in a different timezone, they would have more time for themselves and they would have more time to share with their family.
We also played with traffic data in order to visualize how this initiative would impact our current traffic flow.
The Department of Time
When looking at an idea like this, you have to think in a systemic level, and question what would be the systems that would support it? That is why a government oversight is a critical piece to the success of Interzone. New York City would establish a Department of Time to manage outreach, organization, and oversight of the new initiative. The pictures bellow represent snapshots about how the system work in our everyday.
6. Exhibition as a Research Tool
The design process is iterative, and requires a lot of user testing to gather insights, for this project we got the privilege to present it overseas in Milan and Berlin, from these exhibitions we got insights about people’s thoughts, feelings and aspirations.
7. Workshop NY- Berlin
At our our second exhibition, held at Berlin we hosted a simultaneous workshop NY-Berlin, in order to dig deep into the experience of being in two different time zones at the same time as the same time that we collaborative ideate in possible everyday services inspired by Interzone.
Even though this project is rooted into current sentiments and trends, we acknowledge that it may be challenging to implement it as conceived. The power of this project is its provocation, about what becomes possible if we suddenly understand time as flexible value, and what new implications and innovations that this idea could bring.