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Futuristic road concept is made of reconfigurable parts that light up

Carlo Ratti and Sidewalk Labs unveil their Dynamic Street prototype

Hexagonal pieces of wood with glowing lights David Pike

In the future, roadwork might look a lot different than it does today. Instead of ripping up pavement and replacing it with more static asphalt, imagine a world where roads are built from modular, reconfigurable pieces of pavement that slot into place like puzzle pieces.

That’s the vision of Carlo Ratti Associati, an experimental architecture studio that’s working with Sidewalk Labs to reimagine city streets as an interactive and adaptive kit of parts.

Wooden hexagon with glowing light David Pike

The Dynamic Street prototype, now on view at Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto workspace, centers around “pavers,” 4-foot hexagonal pieces that are designed to be picked up and moved around with little effort.

Illustration of hexagonal modules Carlo Ratti Associati

Ratti and his team created a series of wooden modules that are embedded with lights that could help direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic, as well as designate bike lanes or hazard zones. The pavers have “plug and play” holes, which allow things like bike racks, bollards, and sign posts to be inserted. In the future, the modules will be built from concrete.

Dynamic Streets is a continuation of the Removable Urban Pavement project, a research project in Nantes, France, that’s exploring the benefits of modular pavement. Ratti’s vision is similar—it’s a play at convenience, but also at future-proofing infrastructure, which is bound to rapidly change as our cities get “smarter” and our cars drive themselves.

Via: Architect Magazine