Carlo Ratti and sidewalk labs

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Today we bring an “out of the box” design by Carlo Ratti. In collaboration with Toronto’s sidewalk labs on a prototype of a modular paving system that can adapt to people’s changing needs, making the streets reconfigurable, safer, and more accessible for everyone.

‘The dynamic street’ proposes an alternative to the curbs and painted lines used to separate forms of traffic in today’s cities, showing instead how embedded lights can communicate crossings, pick-up zones and other uses in a flexible and safe way.

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Based on French research group IFSTTAR’s pilot project of removable urban pavement in Nantes, the reconfigurable system can swiftly change the function of a road without causing any disruptions, since its modular pavers can be picked up and replaced within hours or even minutes.

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Exploring the different patterns that can be created on the hexagonal grid, as well as the use of lights, integrated into individual pavers, the project aims to formulate a streetscape seamlessly adapting to people’s needs. additional elements, such as poles, bollards, or even basketball hoops can also be plugged into the different pavers. in practice, the reconfigurable system could, for instance, allow a street to create an extra car lane during rush hour, and then be turned it into a pedestrian-only plaza in the evening.

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