This work proposes to rethink the ways transit infrastructure can expand access to food, health, learning, and mobility services by creating multimodal hubs—or transit nexuses where existing and new mobility modes converge. At a large scale, these can also include services such as medical clinics, grocery stores, and more. At a smaller scale the team is examining new formats of technology-enabled service delivery coupling private enterprise and nonprofit entities to produce new models of infrastructure.
Estimated Chicago population with extreme lack of access to food, health, and learning
Existing transit nodes serving populations facing extreme in-access
Different scales of prototype have been designed
How might we rethink the design and delivery of New Mobility Hub (NMH) facilities to prioritize the provision of access as an essential dimension of their goals, configuration, design and operation? This seemingly simple concept is at once straightforward, and on the other hand, a radical proposition within the contemporary context of siloed infrastructure, service planning and delivery.
In approaching this question, we work from both top-down and bottom-up perspectives within a complex ‘systems of systems’ approach. New forms of policy regarding the design and implementation of linked transit hubs (or connection points) within a given metropolitan area have the potential to produce massive system-wide impacts within a given transportation network. On the other hand, solutions to questions of access are unlikely to come from a top-down approach alone. Multiple NGO and private partners, multiple programs for the delivery of social services and an evolving ecology of new mobility technologies and options already exist within cities, supported by multiple funding sources and an evolving marketplace, increasingly informed by the sharing economy, transformations in user preferences and behaviors, and the emergence of “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) models. The efforts of this project aim to capture and engage these potentials through a design-research method that incorporates a top down, data-driven approach with bottom-up stakeholder perspectives to develop prototypical scenario-based design solutions that can provide city and industry leadership with a model process to pursue the development and delivery of access-enabling transportation infrastructures through NMH facilities. A central thrust of this work is to provide legible examples of how NMH solutions might be designed, and how they might be produced within existing urban systems, funding frameworks, and policy related contexts.
This study is grounded within the Region V metropolitan area of Chicago, which possesses an extensive and varied multimodal transportation system which, when studied across the spectrum of communities served, offers a diverse set of contexts to test the project hypotheses to serve multiple constituencies and offer a range of spatial typologies through which to test these principles at several scales of implementation.
Studying rideshare options like Lyft and Uber, with special focus on individuals with limited transportation choices.
Collecting travel data to help Benton Harbor improve travel options for residents, with the goal of increased employment participation and retention.
Facilitating an on-demand, seamless, and efficient mobility service for the Benton Harbor community, especially among low-mobility families.
The project aims to reduce energy use of vehicular travels by incentivizing individual travelers to adjust travel choices and driving behaviors.
A major source of bridge deterioration requiring constant maintenance is mechanical expansion joints installed between adjacent simple span bridge decks.
Mapping detailed geographies of digital access and exclusion across Detroit’s neighborhoods.
Using wearable-based technology to help seniors stay mobile and age in place, while avoiding exposure to falls and environmental risks or hazards.
The first in a series of health clinic prototypes that bring technology-enabled chronic health care monitoring to remote, underserved global populations.
Using remote sensing and security camera data to better understand how people are using the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy public spaces.
A grassroots train-the-trainer program on how to install, operate and maintain faucet-mounted point-of-use filters to protect for lead in drinking water.
The Sensors in a Shoebox project focuses on empowering Detroit youth as agents of change for their city.
Associate Professor of Architecture
Associate Dean for Creative Practice
Geoffrey Thün is Associate Professor of Architecture and Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan where he teaches design studios, courses in urban systems, site operations and material systems. He is a founding partner in the research-based practice RVTR. He holds an M.UD from the University of Toronto, and a Professional BArch and BES from the University of Waterloo.
Thün’s work ranges in scale from that of the regional territory and the city, to high performance buildings, to full-scale prototype-based work exploring responsive and kinetic envelopes that mediate energy, atmosphere, and social space. These operational scales are tied together through a methodology that entails a complex systems approach; one that assembles around each project a multiplicity of agents, forces and contexts and leverages these multivalent and sometimes contradictory agents towards integrated and synthetic design work. His academic research has attracted external funding from the U.S. Department of Energy / National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE/NREL), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Research Council of Canada (NRCan), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Ford Motor Company. Geoffrey is also a co-founder of the Urban Collaboratory.
Kathy Velikov is an Architect, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and President of ACADIA. She is founding partner of the research-based practice rvtr, which serves as a platform for exploration and experimentation in the intertwinements between architecture, the environment, technology, and sociopolitics. Her work ranges from material prototypes that explore new possibilities for architectural skins that mediate matter, energy, information, space, and atmosphere between bodies and environments, to the investigation of urban infrastructures and territorial practices, working through the techniques of mapping and analysis, speculative design propositions, installations, and writing. Kathy is a recipient of the Architectural League’s Young Architects Award, the Canadian Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture, and co-author of the book Infra Eco Logi Urbanism (2015). Her work and writing has been published in TAD, AD, Footprint, JAE, IJAC, Leonardo, New Geographies, eVolo, Volume, [bracket] Goes Soft, and MONU, as well as in the books Towards a Robotic Architecture, Third Coast Atlas, Infrastructure Space, Hypernatural, Paradigms in Computing, Performative Materials in Architecture, and High Performance Homes. She is co-curator of the traveling exhibition “Ambiguous Territory: Architecture, Landscape and the Postnatural” and co-editor of an upcoming book on the topic.