Design Pre Major Thesis
Stuart Steinfort S3137921
Project Future Tramways Design Pre Major Thesis S3137921 1.0
Introduction of problem
Automobile ownership and applicable issues 2.1 Introduction. 2.2 The automobile and the environment. 2.3 The freedom of the automobile. 2.4 Messages of freedom. 2.5 The automobile role in city planning. 2.6 The automobile as its own worst enemy 2.7 Conclusion.
Historical Background of Melbourne Tram Use. 3.1 Tram application in Victoria 3.2 Living with the motor car: A Melbourne context. 3.3 Recent developments. 3.4 Governmental policy
International Tram development 4.1 International city planning 4.2 Relevant tram infrastructure planning.
Approach 5.1 Participatory Action Research Technique 5.2 Ethnography 5.3 Camera Journal 5.4 Survey
Design and Design Processes. 6.1 Various current design solutions 6.2 Sketches
6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6
3D toolkit Quick and dirty prototyping Rapid prototyping testing Mind mapping
1.0 Introduction Society as a whole cannot continue to assume that private automobile ownership and its subsequent usage can be sustained with the predicament of climate change and substantial global population growth. Melbourne could feasibly become a car free environment, enabling a rethink of how existing infrastructure can be tailored to suite societies needs. This project with critically examine tram transportation, through inclusive design, in order to uncover developing themes of use and contextualise future user needs. The project will use a combination of formal and user group based research in order to find and examine these trends, this will ultimately result in a design solution that seeks to address themes raised.
2.0 Automobile ownership and applicable issues
2.0 Automobile ownership and applicable issues 2.1 Introduction. The automobile, from it inception, has been frequently described as the bringer of freedom, economic and social progress and independence (Whitelegg, 1999). It has not only evolved to meet society’s changing lifestyle; to some extent it has shaped our lives in a physical and personal sense. I wish to explore these themes and current design responses in order to prompt my design exercise which aims to create a more sustainable society. 2.2 The automobile and the environment As Michael Grubb describes (1999, p.5) “The IPCC produced its first report in 1990… with its key conclusion that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were caused by human activities and would cause global temperatures to rise, with accompanying climatic changes.” The importance of personal transport becomes relevant to climate change when one considers emissions from transportation. As Bannister (1996, p.2) explains “…the transport sector (1996) is responsible for over 25 per cent of the world primary energy use and 22 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.” This large percent of emissions results in the need to re-evaluate transportation for society. These statistics would presumably effect societies view towards fossil fuel transportation, yet automobile ownership has, according to Bannister (2005, p.11), “(increased) over 31 per cent in the number of vehicles owned (1984-1994), and it is likely that in the next 25 years (to 2020) that number will increase by a fur-
ther 50 per cent (OECD, 1995).” This dramatic rise in ownership is in direct contradiction to the emissions generated from their use, yet the growth continues. Society therefore must be prioritising the present ease that private automobile ownership affords whilst delaying action on climate change. 2.3 The freedom of the automobile. David Bannister (2005, p.8) argues that the “power and the addiction to the car has often been underestimated.” Bannister (2005, p6) continues to argue that the car offers the individual the ability to ‘escape’ from the “real environment by allowing them to have their own flexibility and freedom.” This freedom has been successfully advertised through selling the dream of individuality and convenience. This individuality has been carefully shaped through extensive advertising detailing the virtues of the automobile. As Bannister (2005, p.6) explains the automobile in its present form offers “the ability to do what you want (within reason).” This freedom is quite powerful in that the automobile can increase individual levels of mobility that in many ways subordinate (Bannister, 2005) competing methods of transportation as well as shaping the manner to which society lives (in terms of work, family life etc). On a personal level, individuality in terms of automobile ownership can be seen as a form of status within society. As Bannister (2005, p.6) explains “it (the automobile) is the dominant culture that maintains major discourses on the quality of life from its use in films, on the news, and at the centre of much advertising.” This then suggests that the automobile has developed an emotion level of meaning within society in that it has gone beyond an economic sense of
convenience to a point of being humanized (Bannister 2005). In terms of convenience, the automobile offers a freedom which cannot be matched by current competitors. This notion of convenience is described by Whitelegg (1997, p.17) “…the car can liberate the self-imposed soul from its perceived boredom in a limited geographical area.” In direct comparison, other public transport services can offer this freedom of travel, but with the constriction of timetables and routes. This subsequently means the car can be spontaneous and free from apparent constrictions that plague public transportation. 2.4 Messages of freedom. The above mentioned psychological aspects of the automobile have been carefully cultivated by advertising companies which in many ways are detrimental to society. As Whitelegg (1997, p.36) explains “people believe cars offer freedom, power, sexual fantasy and reinforcement of personal esteem and ego. The fact that most of this applies to men and not women has not gone unnoticed in the advertising world and the arcane world of motoring magazines… a motoring correspondent in Top Gear…referred to a new car model he was testing capable of ‘snapping knickers elastic at 50 paces’.” Aside from the rampant sexualisation and subsequent fantasies of women within modern culture, this advertising ploy strikes at a primeval level of being where the car is advertised as fulfilling societies (specifically men’s) needs. The issue here is that if automobiles are being advertised in such an emotive manner how can other forms of transport compete. As Whitelegg (1997, p.37) further discusses “going by bike, walking or catching the bus are not
likely to conjure up anywhere near a powerful a cocktail…it is for these reasons that inducements to leave the car at home or use an alternative mode of transport need to be equally powerful.” This is especially hard in a society that is heavily motorised such as Australia, where as Whitelegg explains (1997, p.38) “walking is seen as a deviant activity, cycling is dangerous and fume sodden, and public transport spare to non-existent.” Advertising has successfully created a class gap between the automobile and other transport systems (Bannister, 2005), allowing for all other forms of transportation to become psychologically and socially backcast. 2.5 The automobiles role in city planning. This exponential rise of the car and its subsequent effect on culture raises the question as to whether technology shapes society or society shapes technology. This can be seen by Bannister (2005, p.6) in the manner to which the transport, specifically the automobile has shaped city planning. “…(the) car (has) both socially and spatially divisive as it allows cities to spread with consequences that all people have to travel much longer distances than before, with space becoming something that you want to pass through rather than stop in.” This idea resonates to a greater extent when one considers the percentage of society who do not have access to an automobile; this new fragmented city becomes somewhat hostile in that some areas are difficult to travel to. Even reluctant users are forced to use their car in this environment, exacerbating the problem of pollution and congestion. Indeed the above mentioned notion of flexibility from the automobile has direct physical implications to housing distribution. As Paul Mees (2000, p.37) discuss, “suburbanisation of both the popu-
lation and activities has been attributed to the flexibility of the car, which enables both residents and activities to spread at low densities in all directions.” The active use of the automobile creates suburbanisation and in turn creates further automobile use (Mees, 2005). This is an example of an advertised attribute of the automobile physically affecting not only our lifestyle but also the layout of our cities.
ing to Bannister (2005, p.15) “…limited in their scope,” whereas a package of strategies must be developed in order to communicate to the automobile world the importance of a sustainable society. 2.7 Conclusion
Society as a whole cannot continue to assume that private au2.6 The automobile as its own worst enemy. tomobile ownership and its subsequent usage can be sustained with the predicament of climate change and substantial global Bannister then moves to discuss the viability of whether the population growth. In response to the research into the automo‘car as an icon’ could be removed from society. He details the bile, it has become evident that the automobile has negatively shaped society in a physical and emotional sense. Therefore extent to which the car has been embedded in society and whether this culture will move onto developing worlds with disas- in a future context, other means of transportation needs to be trous consequences. As Bannister explains (2005, p.6) “the car explored in order to meet societies needs whilst address congesmay however become a victim of its own success as the means tion and pollution. Tram transportation offers potential not only to accommodate it will never expand as fast as ownership in its current mass commuter setup, but also in how Melbourne’s levels, so it will become less attractive to use it as congestion extensive infrastructure investment can be utilized in a future increases.” This success story is explained in the ability of the car concept. to morph and transform itself to meet the changing demands of society. As Bannister cities (2005, p.7) “In the early days, car drivers inhabited the roads with the pioneering spirit of freedom and the image of the road….this changed to inhabiting the car, where the car drivers were ‘safe’ in the metal boxes with complete privacy…the last stage is inhabiting the intelligent car, where some of the routine tasks are allocated to the vehicles rather than the driver.” Thus the car itself is a developed being; it continually updates itself to meet the needs of a changing society. Public transport has not met this transformation, indeed the car culture cannot be underestimated since it does not simply follow the economic world. Single policy strategies are, accord-
Published on Apr 21, 2009