Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will present “The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility” exhibition Dec. 14 through March 31, 2019. Featuring 40 projects that explore salient topics around the future of mobility and the urban environment, the exhibition will be punctuated with six provocations and a selection of design responses that reimagine livable streets and the way people, goods and services will move in a new age of connected and transformational mobility.
Organized by Cara McCarty, the museum’s director of curatorial; Cynthia E. Smith, curator of socially responsible design; and Julie Pastor, curatorial assistant, “The Road Ahead” addresses the fundamental question: how do people want to live? On view in the third floor Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery, the exhibition examines accessibility, equity, trust, safety and security, the efficient movement and delivery of freight, smart infrastructure and the use of sidewalks and curb sharing. These challenges present a critical opportunity to pursue a new user-centered vision for streets and infrastructure to create more livable, inclusive and equitable cities, with services, ride-sharing and mass-transit solutions that minimize greenhouse gases and address the users’ needs.
“‘The Road Ahead’ points to several possible futures for our cities and asks audiences to consider how design will improve and expand options for urban transport,” said Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann. “Inviting our visitors to consider and creatively think about the possible outcomes provided by the revolutionary new technologies on the horizon—from grocery-delivering robots to autonomous shuttle services—the exhibition encourages public engagement in the civic dialogue needed to ensure that new designs for mobility are sustainable, equitable and life-improving for all.”
Visitors will be welcomed by “Sounds of the Future City,” an immersive sound experience created by Arup, which speculates on how cities might sound in the future as new technologies arrive in the public space. Additional works on view include Starship’s self-driving delivery robot; Zipline’s autonomous delivery drone; Höweler + Yoon’s Shareway concept for efficient mobility networks; FXCollaborative’s Public Square model for greener, more walkable and lively public space; Waymo’s sensing technology for autonomous vehicles to navigate roads safely; and Local Motors’ Accessible Olli, an autonomous shuttle accessible to people with physical and cognitive disabilities.
A selection of historic examples from Cooper Hewitt’s collection and the Smithsonian Design Library will highlight past visions of mobility, including a 1955 concept-car drawing from the office of General Motors and a 1939 booklet documenting the Futurama exhibit and ride at the New York World’s Fair.
“The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility” is made possible in part by support from the Ehrenkranz Fund, Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery Endowment Fund, Lily Auchincloss Foundation Inc. and the August Heckscher Exhibition Fund.