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Future mobihubs as social connector for the neighbourhood: About positive friction, quantum mechanics, and your mother.

  • Koedood, Jelmer (author)
Publication Date
Mar 05, 2020
TU Delft Repository
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This project revolves around redesigning the future mobihub for the context of the Netherlands. A mobihub (or mobipunt in Dutch) is a brand of mobility hub. In this report, a mobility hub is defined as “A recognizable, physical place where different context-driven functions and services (mostly shared mobility-related such as shared cars) that benefit the neighbourhood meet. A connection to public transport is desirable but type-dependant.”A typology of mobihubs was found and simplified to three types, with a special focus on the type: “neighbourhood hub”. Along with this, a target group was defined: the “suburban citizen”: people that live in a smaller neighbourhood and work in a bigger city. This type of hub and target group determined the focus of the project. This focus was on social cohesion in the neighbourhood. Vision in Product Design (VIP) was used as the main design & research method.In the research phase, a broad literature study was done, along with case studies in the Netherlands and interviews with users from the target group (Figure 1), amongst others. It was found that users on a transport hub always navigate the space between being connected and being autonomous, while they experience positive or negative ‘friction’ (events that slow them down) during their travels. The amount of ‘being connected’ and ‘autonomy’ that a user experiences or seeks, depends on that users personality. Based on this, the design statement was formed:“The mobihub needs to wake up people by introducing a kind of positive friction (that literally and figuratively slows them down) at their local or commute mobihub, with which they can choose to interact, together or alone”The mobihub needs to facilitate for two kinds of pePple at the same time. The fact that the mobihub needs to be in these two states at the same time was compared to the principle of ‘quantum superpositioning’. In quantum superpositioning, a quantum particle can be in two places at the same time (figure 2). After an ideation period a design direction was found. This design direction revolves around modular multi-purpose interactive capsules on the mobihub. With these capsules, inhabitants can combine their mobility patterns. Inhabitants can deliver packages for each other, lend or sell each other items, or pick up groceries. The capsules and the supporting app form an open-ended platform that can be used by the inhabitants as they see fit. This design direction was prototyped (figure 3) and evaluated with users and experts. The functionalities were viewed as very beneficial, but the design direction did not provide a meaningful interaction between place (mobihub) and user (inhabitant).After an extended period of research, it was found that the mobihub should act as a concerned parent through the app and the interactive capsules. The mobihub acting as a concerned parent gives the relationship between user and hub more meaning, because it mirrors wanted mobility patterns. The hub is a concerned parent that needs to ‘educate’ it’s users about responsible mobility usage, and ‘take care’ of them. The user, in turn, has the responsibility to keep visiting his ‘parent’. The final design was dubbed “mobi+punt” (Mobipuntplus or Mobipluspunt) (see figures 4 and 5) and was evaluated with relevant experts in an expert meeting (figure 6). It was evident that social cohesion the most relevant success factor of the design is, as well as efficiency in delivery methods and extra value for the neighbourhood. The main limitations all revolved around the business model and implementation -questions. The final design is still conceptual, and there are much unknowns about its eventual realisation. The experts recognized that it is an idea with a lot of potential. / Design for Interaction

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