Monday, June 1, 2009

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award Winners

Each year a jury awards a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems. This year's Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award winner is a system including a stackable electronic car and a folding scooter to help cut down on congestion and pollution in cities. It is Sustainable Personal Mobility: The CityCar (right), the RoboScooter, and Mobility-on-Demand Systems.

Sustainable Personal Mobility and Mobility-on-Demand Systems (SPM/MoD), submitted by an interdisciplinary student team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT) has been selected as the winner of the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The jury said the project best represents the comprehensive, anticipatory approach to design pioneered by R. Buckminster Fuller - it is a, bold, visionary idea and beautifully reflects the spirit of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. This project is a perfect example of the kind of radical, transformative change that is possible when we reconceive the old ways of doing things and take a systems-based approach to design.

SPM/MoD isn't just about the design of lightweight, efficient, electric vehicles, it is about inserting that technological innovation into the social and cultural environment and designing an intuitive system within which they function. The technological innovation embodied in these vehicles is just one piece of a larger system design which addresses issues from pollution, to congestion, to urban space, to economics, to energy use, to the very idea of personal transportation and what that means in a world with nearly seven billion inhabitants. In the Bucky Fuller tradition this is a transformative solution rather than an isolated piece of technology.

The core concept is the power of transformative visioning, of imagining the world we want to see and then putting the steps in place to get us there, a process which Bucky often called designing the 'preferred state.'

Click on the heading above to go to the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award site.

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