Two students in Milwaukee have grand plans for their own version of the High Line, or Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, albeit at ground level. The 2.4-mile trail would connect racially segregated neighborhoods and turn an abandoned railroad line into an outdoor artwalk. Keith Hayes and Rob Zdanowski crafted a profile of the geo-textile called "matireal" that they hope will comprise Milwaukee’s “Artery” — an 18-inch-by-4-foot reduction of car tires set in a polycarbonate case. Some of the materials come directly from the trail itself, including the tires’ rubber and the gravel that fills the cells in between. The trail itself would feature interactive art installations along its southeastern meander from predominantly African-American Harambee to middle-class, Caucasian Riverworks Center. Milwaukee grabbed headlines last year after 2010 census results revealed it is, by some accounts, the most segregated city in America. This obviously goes much deeper than public space can address on its own, but The Artery could help by physically bridging the steep hill and six-lane highway that serve to separate the two neighborhoods. Milwaukee has expressed interest in the project, even suggesting that it has federal funding for the first two-thirds of a mile of the project. The Youth Council of the City of Milwaukee has also awarded The Artery $25,000 in grants. A half-funded Kickstarter campaign for $10,000 would help realize the idea, too.
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Now this looks like a good idea: a group of architects and engineers called Urban Air are trying to turn a billboard next to LA's 10 Freeway into a suspended bamboo garden. The technique: they remove the signage, install planters and then the bamboo, and then install water misters and sensors to make sure it's properly irrigated. Voila! If it's successful with the first sign the group wants to create similar gardens across the country. The ambitious plan is being crowd-funded through Kickstarter and with 46 days left has raised nearly $6,000 of its $100,000 goal as of this publishing. You can check out their Kickstarter campaign and contribute here.
Greater Good Studio wants to reinvent crowd-sourcing. Their budding campaign, Designing Chicago, aims to build the ultimate public transit app using public data from the Chicago Transit Authority. But the interesting part is where you come in. Not only is the project crowd-funded — it’s crowd-designed. “Since it is called public transit,” founder George Aye said in the team’s Kickstarter video, “it only made sense that we designed this application with the participation of the public.” The app’s features are still up for debate, but Greater Good said they hope to create a “new, truly user-centered tool.” Ideas in the Kickstarter video include automatic weather alerts, the ability to work backward from your calendar to suggest transit routes, and two-way communication with CTA to suggest system improvements. Aye worked at IDEO for 7 years before becoming lead designer for the CTA. The group also has the backing of Massimo Vignelli, designer of the NYC subway map, who is an advisory board member. They are anticipating an April 2013 launch date. Watch an interview with Vignelli here: