LOOP: Inroads to Community, New York, United States

In the age of autonomous cars and algorithmic transportation, cities are invariably transforming from gridlocked streets - choked with fossil fuel spewing cars and trucks, to something altogether more streamlined and environmentally responsible. The future city – envisioned in LOOP will usher in an age of dedicated thoroughfares and repurposed expressways, accommodating artificially intelligent vehicles, and dispensing with outmoded vehicular transportation. LOOP aims at once to optimize traffic flow with specific routes for commuters, while capturing the spirit of a bygone age, where pedestrian life again propels the dynamism of the street. 
LOOP proposes to optimize existing infrastructure and create “micro-highway” loops throughout the city, turning major streets, along with lanes of perimeter expressways into autonomous-only driving zones. Automated electric buses will operate autonomously on these major cross streets, providing cheap and sustainable alternatives and help reach more sustainable civic goals. 
As many of the streets will be given over to the pedestrian, the network of streets themselves will require reprogramming and reimagining, and the notion of street will be redefined entirely. This driverless future is an opportunity to innovate a growing city, and introduce a sustainable transportation alternative, promote equity, and build a more resilient city. Due to increased foot traffic, we would look to create underpasses and overpasses to provide a mix of pedestrian flow that doesn’t inhibit traffic flow while optimizing driverless vehicular traffic. Over or under will be dictated by cross dimensions of the intersection and existing underground subways/infrastructure. In this way, pedestrian cross walks will be separated from driverless vehicles, making it safer for pedestrians to commute and supporting Vision Zero initiatives.
This transformation of the street will invariably constitute landscape initiatives, where sidewalks and roads are subsumed with a multitude of fixed creative installations and permanent infrastructure to accommodate the burgeoning street life. Our proposal imagines a dynamic - active strategy, where reclaimed streets become vehicles for community activity. With so many streets transformed by new and emerging automation and technological efficiencies, cities will be left with an abundance of interstitial territory between buildings. Here at the ground plane lay further opportunity, where building frontages can make way for the agrarian, offering a datum animated with plants and vegetation for cultivation. These inner-city peninsulas would allow people and communities to connect in unexpected ways, where the programming of gathering space becomes redefined, whether it is civic, mercantile or otherwise. 
LOOP imagines a new framework for civic interaction and cultural and economic production, reimagining a city with autonomous cars while also strengthening communities and creating new connections between them.
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