Dutch Water Ways : Mobility enabling future living environments on water

University essay from Umeå universitet/Designhögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Author: Lars Welten; [2021]

Keywords: inclusion; autonomy; integration;

Abstract: When exploring an original and relevant contribution to the continuing development of future transportation solutions, the author was inspired by the unbalanced influence mankind has on our planet earth. Amongst other effects of climate change, sea level is rising and will by the end of this century resultin uninhabitable areas. With this design project, the author aimed at emitting a positive answer to climate change; showing how with a different way of thinking the water no longer has to been seen as a problem but instead as a solution. Forming a basic understanding of how people in the future could live on water required a broad exploration of trends which are currently influencing society and living environment needs. The aging population and the need for smaller living and shared facilities were some of the conclusions of this research, which in collaboration with an architect were translated into a hypothetical floating village plan. Far future scenario planning proved to be a process with many uncertainties, however by empirically filling in the blanks an image emerged which provided a sufficient foundation for the development of potential mobility and transportation opportunities. A living environment where houses and facilities are separated from each other by a barrier (the water), presented challenges for its inhabitants in regards to mobility yet unknown in life as we know on land. The transportation solution the author is putting forward is a shared autonomous shuttle system, seamlessly integrated with the floating architecture and infrastructure, which make the inhabitants perceive the water not as a barrier. The fact that in a floating village architecture and infrastructure move along with the fluctuating water level just like the water transport, allowed for rethinking the archetype of a boat and designing a flush and stable ingress/egress experience. Aesthetic inspiration was found in nature; by analyzing the stance of the water strider insect, a stable looking vehicle was realized which conveys trust towards its users. In short, it has been a degree topic containing a multi-faceted challenge from which the author at the beginning of the project could not foresee the impact.

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