The Mobility Space Report: What the Street!?

What the Street!? was derived out of the question “How do new and old mobility concepts change our cities?”. It was raised by Michael Szell and Stephan Bogner during their residency at moovel lab. With support of the lab team they set out to wrangle data of cities around the world to develop and design this unique Mobility Space Report.

What the Street!? was made out of open-source software and resources. Thanks to the OpenStreetMap contributors and many other pieces we put together the puzzle of urban mobility space seen above….

If you take a snapshot of Berlin from space on a typical time of the day, you see 60,000 cars on the streets and 1,200,000 cars parked. Why are so many cars parked? Because cars are used only 36 minutes per day, while 95% of the time they just stand around unused. In Berlin, these 1.2 million parking spots take up the area of 64,000 playgrounds, or the area of 4 Central Parks.

If you look around the world, wasted public space is not particular to Berlin – many cities have the same problem. But why is so much space wasted in the first place? How “fair” is the distribution of space towards other forms of mobility like bikes and trams? Is there an arrogance of space? If so, how could we raise awareness or even improve the situation?

Who “owns” the city?

Let us first look at how much space there is in a city for moving around, and how it is allocated between bikes, rails, and cars. With What the Street!? – The Mobility Space Report, we set out to provide a public tool for exploring this urban mobility space and to answer our questions systematically, interactively, and above all, in a fun way. Inspired by recently developed techniques in data visualization of unrollingpacking, and ordering irregular shapes, we packed and rolled all mobility spaces into rectangular bins to visualize the areas they take up.

How do you visualize the total area taken by parking spaces? – You pack them tightly.
How do you visualize the total area taken by streets and tracks? – You roll them up tightly.…(More)”.