the following rant occurred in a science forum I sometimes hang out in where everyone was raving about the potential for “robot electric cars” that drive themselves, drop you off at your destination, and then drive away to recharge.
I’ve posted about them here before, but of course don’t need to point out to a peak oil audience that half the energy a car uses is already consumed by the time it leaves the sale-yard for the first time! I just think society is going to have multiple energy shocks over the next 20 years, and it’s better to be “safe than sorry” and plan for less energy rather than just trusting in “Mr Fusion” to arrive just in time.
Anyway, onto my rant.
The thing I like about Masdar is the conceptual break away from SL’s eternal “we must have cars” model of transport. Masdar says no, we don’t need them, we can design cities that facilitate a much more efficient energy transport system called a “walk”. This incredible transport mode takes carbohydrates like Weet Bix or toast, or even proteins like Bacon and Eggs, and turns them into transport energy.
Yes, the “walk” is a truly revolutionary city transport concept which apparently also has a built-in infrastructure enabling social interactions. Called the “chat”, people have been known to engage with their community while using the “walk and chat”, which enhances the local social fabric and offers a real-time communication advantages such as actual expression readability, gestures, and other revolutionary verbal enhancements. Some users of “the walk” have even been known to smile and wave at their fellow travellers.
Masdar city’s revolutionary employment of the “walk” is facilitated by careful planning enabling the use of this technology. The technology has proved safer than driving, improves health and mood, creates community bonding, enhances neighbourhood attractiveness, reduces real estate required in massive “free-ways”, reduces transport fatalities, is quiet, pollution free, and efficient when the right support technologies enhance this device. (New Urbanism).
As the current energy paradigm fails, I imagine more and more citizens will be demanding employment of this radical transport paradigm and its support mechanisms, and the “walk” will be employed not just in old-styled cities like Paris or Amsterdam, but may even find its way into Sydney streets. Suburbs will need to be retrofitted for compatibility, but this may be inevitable anyway.
Next week we’ll cover an even faster, more radical transport technology known in some parts as Velib, but which for our purposes we’ll simply call “the bike”.