Smart DOTS is a radical strategy for rethinking the crossroad by "injecting" a system of intelligent environmental elements -"smart dots"- that can spread out from the core to the periphery, reorganizing the streetscape. The design scheme is a critique of the hard boundaries that the automobile inflicts to the function of the streetscape, where people are forced to move around cumbersome barriers and often dangerous metal cars.  Our future street is a soft, gradient field: a pixelated urban landscape of distributed functions, with no hard borders between different street occupancies.

Soft MOBS invokes a new technological and material arrangement for adapting cars to cities in pliable organized movements -"soft mobs,"- while it also suggests the use of softer vehicles where users can be in direct contact with the street. While architects and urban designers mostly take cars as given, and are content to design streets and public spaces around car movement, here we challenge and reverse of this well-worn assumption.

The design is organized in three phases 2008, 2020 and 2028 respectively. In Phase 2008, we suggest to take minor design interventions as immediate safety measurements against continual conflicts of pedestrians with automobiles. Phase 2020, signals a transition period, where car lanes are narrowed, pedestrian zones

are widened, bicycle bollards are introduced with new car technology and gentle congestion. Already inPhase 2020, we are suggesting the placement of environmental “smart dots,” or green modules that filter rainfall, greywater, and at the same time, slow down traffic separating smoothly walking zones, bicycles and transportation zones. Phase 2028 is the future embodied in “pixelated” surfaces, gradient green zones, and living self-sufficient machines that provide their own energy, generating electricity through air movement. In the future, giant benevolent air-cleansing blimps dangle tentacles to collide spongy seats in a playful catch-and-release plan for people moving about town. All life is enveloped in a sentient ecology of street, mobile systems, and people.

The flexible body jetpack moves in flocks that bump and glide. Tugged along in groups for longer distances these devices run on hydrogen peroxide. The intention is to have multiple units air-towed to conserve power until a specific destination is reached.  Individual jetpacks may decouple from the flock and head to a more localized point.

While the proposal is specifically tailored for the Ninth & Fourth intersection in Brooklyn, it signals a new vision for the city, crystallizing images of civilization reinventing itself. Smart DOTS and Soft MOBS may function as a prototypical strategy for inserting soft plazas in various street intersections. We can rethink the city as whole by making nodal changes that may grow to infiltrate the rigid grid that we currently live in.

Credits: Mitchell Joachim, KARV: Aurel von Richthofen, Lydia Kallipoliti and Matt Cunningham , Fred James, Maria Aiolova.