Smarter Than Car explores how to transform our urban world while living up to planetary boundaries. Our work includes activism, making, knowledge and imagineering across various urban scales and contexts.
Parklet2go is a pedal-powered placemaking tool for testing, experimenting, and discussing the redesign of urban space. Parklet2go enables the temporary activation and reimagining of public space in general and parking spaces in particular. Parklet2go brings a sense of play to city planning while affirming the importance and potential of pedal-powered mobility.
More information on the PARKLET 2 GO project page!
Futurama Redux - Urban Mobility After Cars + Oil is an ongoing urbanistic research project that investigates the future of urbanity beyond the use of fossil fuels. The project culminates in frequent exhibition events that discuss urban impacts evolving from a fossil-fuel-free mobility system in the year 2050. The city of Vienna, Austria is laboratory and case study for this enquiry that develops strategies to be discussed and adapted in cities across the globe.
Futurama Redux - Urban Mobility After Cars + Oil asks how a transition to fossil-fuel-free mobility might foster sustainability, resilience, and security while improving quality of life. Futurama Redux builds on a backcasting scenario for fossil-fuel free urbanity in the year 2050 and a related interdisciplinary process of imagineering to develop pathways for future urban development.
Futurama Redux argues that a shift beyond fossil fuels is necessary and vital for maintaining resilient urban environments and presents models of living and mobility that require no fossil-fuel energy input.
The exhibition was firstly curated by Smarter Than Car (Florian Lorenz and Joshua Grigsby) and developed together with an interdisciplinary team of designers and an aligned group of experts.
The project was initiated within, and the exhibition firstly shown, during Vienna Design Week 2015 under the title "[r+d] post-carbon Vienna". The sponsors of the initial exhibition and project in 2015 were: Wiener Stadtwerke, SRAM, Zipcar, Ministerium für ein Lebenswertes Österreich. Futurama Redux has since been developed further, complemented with new content and presentation formats. The exhibition is structured in several modular exhibition elements that are shown as exhibition in flexible combinations.
The exhibition has been shown at the following venues:
Seattle Central Library | Seattle Design Festival 2017. Seattle, Washington, USA. 8 – 16 September 2017. Full exhibition within the community program of Seattle Design Festival. In cooperation with Coltura, DLR Group and Seattle Public Library.
Technical Museum Nikola Tesla. Zagreb, Croatia. 11 - 18 March 2017. Full exhibition. In cooperation with Sindikat Biciklista, Technical Museum Nikola Tesla and Greenpeace Croatia.
United Nations Habitat III Conference. Quito, Ecuador. 15 - 20 October 2016. Exhibition Excerpt. In cooperation with HealthBridge Foundation of Canada.
City Gallery, Hong Kong, China. 31 September – 16 October 2016. Full exhibition and symposium within European Union Academic Programme’s Urban Innovations series. Partners: Austrian Consulate General Hong Kong, Hong Kong Planning Department, City Gallery Hong Kong, City of Vienna, World Urban Campaign, Low Carbon City Forum
Future Urban Mobility Day of Stadtwerke Wien. Vienna, Austria. 2 May, 2016. Full exhibition.
United Nations Habitat III Regional Meeting for Europe and North America. Prague, Czech Republic. 16 – 18 March 2016. Exhibition Excerpt.
Urban Future Global Conference. Graz, Austria. 2 - 3 March, 2016. Exhibition Excerpt.
VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2015. Vienna, Austria. 25 September – 4 October 2015. Full exhibition.
[r+d] post-carbon Vienna is the future urban mobility project of Vienna Design Week (VDW) 2015. As the world continues to urbanise and the effects of climate change and resource depletion intensify, the automotive age enters its twilight.
In response, Vienna Design Week entrusted Smarter Than Car to curate a process that is bringing researchers and designers together to lay out a paradigm shift for fossil-fuel-free urban mobility. Vienna will serve as their laboratory and test case. Design teams will engage questions concerning the topics energy, space, and living, and how a transition to a post-carbon future could transform these three key elements of urban mobility.
[r+d] post-carbon Vienna will host a research and design process in the summer of 2015 involving local and international stakeholders and experts. This process will produce material for a week-long exhibition and a public event during VDW 2015. A publication about the project in digital and printed form is planned.
Join [r+d] post-carbon Vienna and contribute to a public exhibition on the future of urban mobility at Vienna Design Week 2015.
Cycling advocates have various tools at hand to directly create change in urban environments. Smarter Than Car is facilitating the Bicycle Urbanism Unit project, an ongoing series of tactical urban interventions that are building an open-source toolbox for advocacy strategies. The workshop will extend this toolbox further with creative strategies conceptualized and deployed in Medellín.
The World Bicycle Forum (#FMB4) in Medellín, Colombia eclipsed as the world’s largest discursive event on bicycling mobility and urban cycling cultures. 6,500 (confirmed 6495) participants from 37 countries gathered in Medellín, Colombia from February 26th to March 1st, for the fourth World Bicycle Forum (Forum Mundial da Bicicleta #FMB4). Themed “Cities for All,” The event celebrated and situated the bicycle as a powerful tool for urban transformation.
STC helped to prepare the world's largest grassroots-organised cycling event, the Forum Mundial da Bicicleta which took place in Medellín Colombia in 2015. We were active to coordinate the event's program committee and aid the promotion of the forum with strategic campaigns such as the #EmbassyRide | #WorldTour or campaigns for the Call for Proposals. We were also active contributors to the program by hosting two workshops and moderating one large keynote session.
Article: Nine Lessons from the World Bicycle Forum - Florian Lorenz on the Sustainable Cities Collective
Article: 8 Highlights from Medellin’s World Bike Forum 2015 - Diana Martinez Torres on This Big City
Smarter Than Car is currently conducting a research project on bike sharing systems. Citybike Wien, Vienna’s bike sharing system, is a case study for this project. We aim to determine how bike sharing systems may serve people from potentially disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, including migrants, refugees, and low-income communities. We think that cycling, and especially bike sharing, has the ability to empower members of marginalized communities by increasing their mobility and therefore quality of life. Moreover bike sharing systems may be reconsidered as a form of public transportation to play a significant role in bicycle urbanisation. For this project STC is cooperating with The Program on Urban Studies at Stanford University.
The Bicycle Urbanism Unit (BUU) is active to improve conditions for the everyday cycling in the city. The BUU is a global pool of people, ideas and strategies working for that matter. Every modern city should have a BUU to find ways for the city to integrate bicycle-based mobility as an integral part of the overall organisation of a city.
In Skopje, Macedonia, the Bicycle Urbanism Unit employed the humble bicycle to connect the city’s rapid urbanization to a human scale. The BUU worked in a performative way, with subjective urban views, in cooperation with Skopje’s population and urban administration, with manual and digital tools. The BUU drew experiential maps of the city, thought of ways to reclaim public space currently occupied by the car and develop a bicycle urbanism vision for Skopje.
STC has been invited to guide a workshop during the Skopje Creative Hub 2014. We collaborated with the Macedonian cycling advocacy group NaTochak (На Точак) for this workshop. Together we formed the Bicycle Urbanism Unit to gain momentum for active transportation and urban quality in the city of Skopje.
As a community partner STC provided conceptual input and drafted a project description for the Bicycle Urbanism topical track of the field workshop for Stanford's International Urbanization Seminar. On the ground in Beijing a bicycle tour through Beijing's Hutongs was organized as part of the fieldwork of students.
A series of videos produced by Smarter Than Car about bicycle cultures in Beijing.
The global automotive design team for Renault visited Beijing for a research trip in 2013. Interested in urbanisation trends in modern Chinese cities STC led a 2 hour bike tour of Beijing and presented a lecture on ‘bicycle urbanism’, followed by a Q&A session on urbanisation and mobility trends in China.
In 2010-2012 STC conducted urban research in Beijing, Guangzhou and other Chinese cities on pedal-based livelihoods in China. We have since been contextualizing our findings as strategies for creating urban environments vibrant with bicycle cultural life, an approach we put forward as bicycle urbanism.
The Danish Embassy in Beijing was partnering with STC to organize a "Climate Ride" to promote green transportation. On occasion of the Danish EU Presidency in 2012 the Danish Embassy organised a ‘Climate Race’ in and outside Beijing to promote green transportation and solution and raise awareness of climate issues. The highlight will be a one-day bike ride in and around Beijing with more than 150 participants from Danish companies, media, Chinese officials and other EU embassies.
BBB (Bike for a Better Beijing) is a document that STC produced together with Friends of Nature Beijing. The publication outlines the arguments for improving cycling on Beijing’s streets.