Dream Bigger: Imagine a Billion-Dollar Design Project

Design research city with a pencil for sketching ideas

Dream Bigger: Imagine a Billion-Dollar Design Project

It’s one thing to see how a self-driving car behaves on the road with other drivers. It’s a completely different activity to see how a self-driving city behaves.

What would happen, over time, if there were no zoning laws? What would happen, over time, if there were no roads? What would happen, over time, if the city laws and rules were driven not by a representational democracy, but by direct vote?

Presently, these questions are largely unanswerable, and we constantly find ourselves reactively legislating technologies, lagging by years or even decades. With a city-based research lab, we could build understanding for cultural change at a broad scale, and then consider these changes for global implementation once they were proven at a local level. The role of government could be evaluated with forward-looking behavioral data, rather than current-state evaluative surveys, argument, and rhetoric. The implications of policy decisions could be studied with a long enough timeline and at a large enough scale to make concrete conclusions and proposals.

Aerial view of a crosswalk to show how service design works for users