Your City Just Needs Some Space
From innovative new driverless pods that roam city sidewalks to newly designed shared office spaces, innovators, urban planners, designers, and beyond are all trying to figure out how to best utilize a rapidly diminishing commodity: space. CNN’s new series, CNN 10, recently featured an array of innovations that are changing the way people view shared spaces such as airports, sidewalks, playgrounds, and more.
At Zipcar, we know a little bit about efficient use of space; studies show that every Zipcar removes 15 personally owned vehicles from the road. That equates to fewer cars during rush hour traffic and fewer parking spots to store individual vehicles, freeing up city streets for community parks and green spaces.
As the CNN article highlights, it is not just about having more space – it’s about making the most of the space we have. Take for instance the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, set to open in 2015. This revolutionary new hospital is doing away with sterile walls and furniture and filling it with floor to ceiling glass windows providing an abundance of natural light. The large glass windows not only let in healthy sunlight, but offer the illusion of a larger, less-confined space – a complaint of hospital patients everywhere. In addition, many hospitals are adding comfy couches, soothing paint colors, and even indoor gardens to restore health and reduce stress for both the patient and visitors.
Another interesting space-saving innovation? Since 2011, Heathrow Airport has eliminated thousands of bus trips taken on surrounding roads by implementing a fleet of driverless pods that mostly run on elevated tracks. Instead of having to wait for a scheduled arrival, riders summon a driverless pod for trips as needed. (Talk about efficiency!) The system is so efficient, in fact, that a local London town wants to bring a network of these pods to its city sidewalks, connecting the local train station to the bustling downtown area about a mile away.
In the coming decade, two billion people are expected to flood already crowded cities. While we have a long way to go to successfully accommodate this rapid urbanization, it is promising to see so many communities, companies, and people rallying to make cities better places to live.