Team Members:
Sweta Elizabeth Joseph, UCLA
Nikita Kumar, UCLA
Anshul Malhan, ArtCenter
An opportunity to redesign our urban futures with recommendations on evolving architecture, transportation and society. ArtCenter's Graduate Transportation Systems and Design program, along with the UCLA IDEAS graduate program looked at the iconic Sunset Strip in West Hollywood to envision what the future of smarter transportation (e.g. autonomous cars) and smarter systems could change about the Sunset Strip.
Why?
The brief told us to solve gridlock in LA using the context of the Sunset Strip. We instead decided to first understand how new technologies impact our lives and how we got here to understand the implications of our future designs.
Approach
Look beyond the buzzwords. Critically examine the site of the Sunset Strip (What does it represent? What is the context?) and the way interactions among people and objects occurs today in mobility, technology and social life.
   How?
Through primary research, we identified the contextual characteristics about Sunset Strip, West Hollywood and came up with design principles to explore futures of our society. Next Nature's work "Society of Simulations" which described how micro-experiences on apps and online media are essentially simulations of reality that we consume daily at an increasing rate, and how we find these simulations representations more meaningful than reality itself. 
Exacerbating this trend into the future, we considered an emerging counter-trend where there would be a need for 'moments of respite, rebellion and protest' to simulations and technologies. Our minds, no matter how well designed the simulations we experience are, will always yearn for reality and search within our environments for those real moments and experiences. For such moments of yearning for 'the real', we envision how architecture and mobility can be thought of as a medium to achieve that.
Urban space as a relief from the simulation
Using prominent counter-culture centers of today as spaces of relief in the future.
Using sightlines from the voids as guidelines for built forms
Picking the area around what is today Pandora's Box, the built spaces around it were reimagined.
Abstracted section view of the Susnet Strip as imagined. Travellers not travelling to the Sunset Strip as their final destination are pushed into the terrain rather than taking up valuable surface space.
Now that we have our urban edifices, how would mobility be able to weave through this context?
The Urban Diorama was featured in 2 exhibits at Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York and A+D Museum, Los Angeles. Check it out here

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