There is a growing awareness about the limited spaces in cities and architects are working hard to develop and design solutions that will allow optimum utilization of urban areas. This means taking into account the traffic and movement in a given area at different parts of day and making it possible to use the same street differently depending on hour of the day.
Dynamic Street is a prototype paver developed by Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) along with Sidewalk Labs – the urbanism focused subsidiary of Google parent company, Alphabet. The system of hexagonal pavers is designed to be easily picked up and moved around “within hours or even minutes” according to CRA. The goal is to enable the same stretch of road or pavement to be used for different purposes at different times of the day or week. CRA gives the example of an urban passageway that is busy with foot and bicycle traffic during rush hour, but quiet for the rest of the day. Dynamic Street would enable this street to be transformed into a play space in the middle of the day, or reconfigured for a block party or basketball game on weekends.
The architects behind this project believe the Dynamic Street will create space for urban experimentation, creating a streetscape that responds to citizens’ ever changing needs. The paver blocks are embedded with lights that can be set to communicate crossings, bike lanes, pick up zones or other guidance. Each paver also has a slot for inserting optional vertical elements such as bollards bike racks, exercise equipment, microphone stands or basketball hoops. Experts believe with self driving cars soon slated to become a reality, these flexible streetscapes will have even greater usefulness and application. These paver blocks will be available in a range of materials, including concrete and rubber.
Project Lead: Carlo Ratti and Sidewalk Labs