THE ART CENTER SUMMIT 2009 | Systems, Cities & Sustainable Mobility

Highlights of The Art Center Summit 2008

On February 5-7, 2008, The Art Center Summit: Systems, Cities & Sustainable Mobility convened an international group of visionaries, industry executives, urban planners and government leaders to re-envision the relationships between mobility systems, cities and transportation. The second in a series of five Summits, Systems, Cities & Sustainable Mobility featured presentations, engaging discussions and brainstorming sessions—all of which emphasized the critical need for designers to take a leading role in the future of mobility and urban planning.

Highlights included:

- A presentation by Gary Lawrence, Urban Strategies Leader at ARUP, who spoke about the world’s first sustainable Eco-city in Dongtan, China. Lawrence explained the advances the city has made in environmental, economic and cultural sustainability and suggested that sustainability is a political concept with technical challenges designers must acknowledge and address.

- A panel discussion called “The New Systems Driving Sustainable Mobility” moderated by Mark Goodstein, co-founder and manager of the Propellant Group, and featuring Christer Lindström, Founder of the Institute for Sustainable Transportation; Dan Sturges, President of Intrago LLC.; and V. Sumantram, former chief Executive of Tata Motors. They examined the new systems driving sustainable mobility and how businesses in different nations and industries can react and adapt to them.

- Summit attendees participated in group scenario-building games centered on Art Center’s mVIP (Mobility Vision Integration Process) cards to create mobility solutions for hypothetical futures with potential challenges and events in their framework. Ideas that emerged from the exercise included a personal rapid transit device, including a model for a flood-safe pod for city use; modular housing that disassembles for shifting needs; and smart transit, wired to fulfill car-based needs during trips.

- Acclaimed entrepreneur, environmentalist and author Paul Hawken delivered the keynote address, and was joined by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary John F. Mizroch. Hawken stressed the urgency for America to revolutionize vehicle efficiency and to be more radical in their thinking, as Henry Ford was when he invented the combustion engine to replace horses.

The Summit was held at the College’s South Campus Wind Tunnel in Pasadena. Attendees had the opportunity to view an exhibition of the newest sustainable offerings from the car industry, including the new Fisker Automotive hybrid, the Karma, and the Aptera three-wheeled hybrid. Mark Goodstein, who, in addition to his work with The Propellant Group, helped to define and launch the Automotive X-Prize, posed the challenge to designers to build a new breed of transport, emphasize risk-taking among designers and find new approaches to mobility by accepting the constraints of a radically changing world.