Interactive city designs: smart highways, sustainable dance floors
Daan Roosegaarde's studio designs explore relationship between people, technology, space
Imagine living in a city where the highway illuminates with images of snowflakes to let people know conditions are slippery and charges electric cars as they drive over the roads.
That's the type of interactive city artist and entrepreneur Daan Roosegaarde hopes people will experience in the near future.
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"It's great to use technology so that people suddenly get really excited about something banal such as highways," he said.
His Studio Roosegaarde is a social design lab that creates projects like the smart highway, equipping a European road with glow-in-the-dark paint that charges in the daytime and illuminates the road's contours at night.
It's great to use technology so that people suddenly get really excited about something banal such as highways.- Daan Roosegaarde, artist and entrepreneur
The smart highway project also includes so-called dynamic paint. Temperature fluctuations trigger the paint, illuminating ice crystals to signal slippery conditions or relaying other traffic information to drivers.
Roosegaarde says he tries to understand Earth's principles and use them as a tool for personalizing the human world.
"There are so many principles in nature that we can learn from to make our cities more livable again. When you look at the jellyfish deep, deep underwater ... it doesn't have a solar panel or a batter or an energy bill. But, it creates its own light like a firefly."
He says it is "rough" to consider how much energy humans use and how much waste they produce, including himself.
Some of his other internationally renowned projects reflect this thinking.
There's the sustainable dance floor. As club-goers dance on the surface, it generates electricity.
Roosegaarde's Dune project has been replicated in several locations. Along the Maas River in Rotterdam, Netherlands, fibres, using less than 60 watts of energy, brighten based on the sounds and motions of those passing by.
Roosegaarde hopes his projects, like the smart highway, will trigger the design and creative industries to engage more.
He says mayors are the best partners for the future of interactive cities because they have a social and economic agenda coupled with a pride for the city.
You can listen to the entire interview by clicking on the audio box on the top, left-hand side of the page.