Transportation

Toby Bottorf
Past Security: Notes on the Experience of Airports
Airports are designed to feel deliberately like nowhere. It’s sterility as a design choice.


Mary Badon
Red Light, Green Light: The Invention of the Traffic Signal
The traffic light — invented in 1912 by a policeman in Detroit — has radically impacted the way transportation rules have developed over the past 100 years, all over the world.


Eric Heiman
Necessary Frictions
Want to get an immediate, on-the-ground sense of a new city in all its multicultural glory? Use its public transit.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Commuter in Tokyo by Michael Wolf
How to cope with compression


Rick Poynor
Stephen Bayley: Death Drive
Style, money, class, glamour, sex, and the car crash


Véronique Vienne
Taylor Holland’s Scenic Tour
A photograph is at first a document. Crop it, and it becomes a picture. Trim it further into a square and you’ve got a “sign” — a potential icon.


Owen Edwards
A Michelangelo, at 100 mph Plus
The recent death of Italy’s Massimo Tamburini brought to an end the glittering career of perhaps the greatest motorcycle designer ever and one of the greatest industrial designers of recent decades.


Anne Quito
Anne Quito on Quiet
Anne Quito will graduate in May 2014 from SVA’s MFA Design Criticism program. In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in Visual Culture from Georgetown University.


John Thackara
Cloud Commuting
A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem.



John Thackara
Caloryville: The Two-Wheeled City
In China, ‘battery-bikes’ are outselling cars by four-to-one. Pedelec sales are soaring in Europe, too. Is this the start of system-wide phase-shift in transportation?



Observed
1920s Chicago Transit Posters
Chicago-L.org has a small, but gem filled collection of Chicago transit posters from the 1920s.


Owen Edwards
My Month as a Mocker
A remembrance of London in the 1960s. Rockers rode motorcycles and Mods rode scooters.



Observed
Parking Meter History
The history of the parking meter — originally designed to have a positive affect on traffic flow and shopping.


Rick Poynor
The Experiential Thrill of Driving in Films
A new book, Drive, shows how the car scenes in movies help us understand the experience of modernity.



Observed
Visualizing Mass Transit
Andrew Walker has visualized the mass-transit systems of major cities.


Rick Poynor
It’s Smart to Use a Crash Test Dummy
The image of the crash test dummy has traveled from the subcultural fringes to the pop culture mainstream.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is St. Louis Bus Passes from the 1940s.


John Thackara
Virtual Boring Agent
The Virtual Boarding Agent Orly Airport in Paris. It's spooky, clever and very well executed — and most people seem to ignore it after a first casual glance.



Phil Patton
Audi Urban Future Summit 2011
Report on one of the latest conferences to take on the global theme of the city



Phil Patton
The Green Dashboard
The design of instrument panels reflects the new technologies of hybrid and electric vehicles



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.



Phil Patton
Another Wrong Turn for Chris Paine
Review of the documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car.



John Thackara
Rotterdam: Where Time is no Longer Money
Twelve-year-old children in Rotterdam have never known a time when their city was not being rebuilt around them.


John Thackara
If It’s Not the Destination and It’s Not the Journey...
A team at Rutgers University, uses ultrasonic sensors, GPS receivers and cellular networks to find empty parking spaces. While technically impressive, this is an absurdly over-complicated answer to the wrong question.



John Thackara
The Gram Junkies: In Transportation Design the Key Issue Is Not Speed, but Weight
In the matter of mobility and modern transportation we all need to become gram junkies.



Phil Patton
Charging Double
Comparing two new electric-car chargers: Blink and WattStation


Mark Lamster
The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?


John Thackara
Is an Environmentally Neutral Car Possible?
The future of the car has been electric for what? Five years now? Ten? The answer is 110 years. The new Riversimple, makes us look again at the feasibility of the electric car.


Mark Lamster
Trabantimino
The idea: fuse a Trabant, that iconic East German junkmobile, with an El Camino, the classic American musclecar.



Phil Patton
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car
Review of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car.



Alexandra Lange
Archpaper Review: Our Cities Ourselves
Does one size fit all, even when it is oh-so-hot bikes and buses?



Phil Patton
Murray T.25 City Car
Report on Gordon Murray's conversion from revolutionary race car designer to creator of one of the greenest city cars ever.



Mark Lamster
Coming to America: The Extraordinary Journey of Morris Moel
From Poland to New York, the story of Morris Moel.



Alexandra Lange
Diana Center & Architectural Bull----
Though rave reviews (
Architect, Metropolis, previously New York) are rolling in for Weiss/Manfredi’s Diana Center at Barnard College, every review has praised two things that I quickly dismissed as the most basic architectural bullshit: the copper glass and the street-level transparency.



Phil Patton
One Car Per Family
Report on Yves Béhar's design for a new "people's car."



Jonathan Schultz
Better Place
Report on Better Place, winner of the 2009 INDEX Award in the Community category.


Phil Patton
Triple-Digit Inflation
Phil Patton questions GM's sustainability claims for its Chevrolet Volt electric car.



Mark Lamster
Blriot! The Centennial of a Historic Flight
A century ago today, Louis Blriot took off in an airplane of his own invention.



Observed | October 19

How Design Observer contributor Steve Heller spends his weekends. [BV]

The crisis of intimacy in the age of digital connectivity or the spread of narcissism and the disappearance of empathy. [BV]


Observed | October 17

Gallery: stunning photos of ordinary life in Ukraine‘s conflict zone. [BV]


Observed | October 16

Can the Instagram novel really get more people to read books? (Should it?) [BV]

How do you turn fear into creative fuel? Good Company Magazine is answering that question during a live podcast next Thursday at the New School. [BV]


Observed | October 15

Why is a receipt for cough drops the height of a small child? The long, long history of long, long CVS receipts. [LS]

A new info graphic tool allows users to explore the outlook for upward mobility in their home county (and others’). [LS]


Observed | October 12

A brief memoir of growing up in the library. [BV]

A geyser erupted in Yellowstone and 80 years of human trash poured out. (via Kottke) [BV]


Observed | October 11

AI tech is now good enough to trick us, and the only way we’ll know we’re talking to a bot is because the bot’s creators told it to announce itself.” [BV]


Observed | October 09

In 2018, art, media, and culture are being evaluated for moral correctness more than for quality. The Morality Wars. [BV]

The artist Malevich takes a walk in Vitebsk... [BV]


Observed | October 08

A wonderful new show from WTTW looks into the history of art and design in Chicago. [BV]

Opening tonight: The Reach and Richness of Design, at the Kamerick Art Building University of Northern Iowa featuring Jessica Helfand‘s volvelles, wood type, Ad Reinhardt‘s editorial illustration + more. [BV]


Observed | October 05

Powerful portraits of indigenous women of Siberia aging alone. In the new series Forgotten Like Last Year’s Snow from photographer Oded Wagenstein. [BV]


Observed | October 04

Is “Sans Forgetica” the font of all knowledge? Researchers develop a typeface they say can boost memory. [BV]

Before the end of the year, Apple will open a new store in the Carnegie Library in D.C. Can Apple stores be public spaces? [BV]


Observed | October 03

The life and times of a Japanese candy artist. [BV]

“Art is history.” Netflix reboots Kenneth Clark’s 1969 “Civilisation” series and explores the art of cultures around the world. [BV]


Observed | October 02

In today’s political climate, using satire to record and respond to the current state of affairs is an act of survival. Art as Witness: Political Graphics 2016 – 2018 opens Saturday. [BV]


Observed | October 01

Do we really still need Banned Books Week? (Hint: The answer is, sadly, yes.) [BV]

The existential void of the pop-up ‘experience’: “I went to as many Instagramable “museums,” “factories” and “mansions” as I could. They nearly broke me.” [BV]


Observed | September 28

With the onset of technology, we’re reguarly grappling with how to define a book. But this is nothing new, the question of what sort of object might count as a book remains very much up for debate. [BV]


Observed | September 27

Change everything you hate about meetings with one single word. [BV]

David Hockney + iPad = stained-glass window in Westminster Abbey. “The Queen’s Window”, celebrates Elizabeth II’s reign. [BV]


Observed | September 26

A marvelous sound machine inspired by a Soviet deep drilling project. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]

Of course you know Gutenberg invented movable type, but what else do you know about the history of printing? [BV]


Observed | September 25

Our present era could easily be described as one of fear. In these times, horror has been experiencing what critics feel obliged to label a ‘golden age’. [BV]


Observed | September 24

The future of humanity depends on design ethics. [BV]

“No logo, no liftoff”: Why NASA needs a new logo. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]



Jobs | October 21