Some Thoughts on Mobility
I often look back to the Chinese language in order to see things anew. The word mobility comprises of two characters, one refers to 'grain' and 'many', while the other to 'clouds' and 'force/energy'. Grains and clouds- the earth and the sky- How poetic! We use the terms 'Cloud Computing' and 'Cloud Storage' now to suggest the freedom and ubiquitous nature of computing and an era of unlimited digital storage. One is no longer tied down to a specific object or is accessibility limited.
Clouds do not have definite edges or shapes and they do not recognize boundaries. Clouds drift. Clouds are not bubbles, which are hermetic, sealed off from the world. Clouds receive, collect and hold until their formless states become tangible falling clouds when they could not resist the force of gravity. The falling clouds from the sky nourish the life of the grains that in turn sustain human life on earth.
Metaphors are still important, just like how Louis Kahn and Ann Tyng re-directed our understanding of traffic flows, buildings and infrastructures in their traffic study of Philadelphia with a new notation system and by calling them rivers, docks and harbors. In Greek, a metaphor means 'to carry', to 'transfer'. Isn't that what we partake every day on the way to work, to pick up our kids, and back?
Unlike a subway line that serves a singular function, I wonder how do we imagine a 21st C Mobility Cloud housing a multiplicity of scales, movements, durations and experiences that not only carries and transfers but also nourishes and sustains our wellbeing?
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