Early discussions with Audi inspired a project brief
exploring the possible tensions between what urban
planners believe our mobility needs will be and the goals from a
private premium car manufacturer. Our interior-focused
course started from a very holistic perspective, following these
research questions proposed by Audi:
- How will mobility transform urban structures?
- What influence society will have on its mobility options?
- Will new design principles arise from the digital age?
- What does it mean for transportation design, if a vehicle can
communicate with the surrounding infrastructure and urban
- What impact will these transformations have in our lifestyle
The research phase started with a meeting involving experts from
Umeå Municipality, another official partner in this project. The
students and tutors visited the city hall and got input from
several planners working with urban mobility. The main learnings
from this kick-off session were that Umeå, a representative
scandinavian city with currently 120.000 inhabitants, plans to
reach a population with nearly double that size by 2050. It
believes the best way to provide quality infra-structure is by
promoting densification closer to the city centre rather than
stimulating urban spread. It also wants to make sure physical
literacy, meaning the awareness about how important physical
activity is for people's health and wellbeing, is influencing
decisions around the public mobility infrastructure. After
acquiring this important perspective from city officials, the
students were divided into smaller groups with the goal to collect
and share with colleagues some more specific information about:
After this early research phase the group came up with a few
- They should approach mobility scenarios that complete
(not compete) with public transportation. All concepts should
consider increasing 'attractiveness' to the city.
- All mobility solutions should keep in mind sustainable
development (both for the city and for the brand).
- Concepts should represent diversity of needs from their
users. This is so that it would be possible to compare design
solutions aimed at alternative business models.
- Individual projects should visualise mobility scenarios
in connection to the city, with focus on tangible vehicle interior
proposals that support premium experiences for the
From this moment on the students coordinated the distribution of
unique mobility scenarios within the class.
The following concepts represent solutions they believe would be
of value for users in cities similar to Umeå, respecting
sustainable goals and the aspirations of Audi as a brand.