• Around Autofiction

Detroit, Geelong, Graz, Kortrijk, Puebla, Saint-Étienne and Turin
are members of the UNESCO Creative Cities of Design Network
and at the same time important locations for the automotive industry.
With “Around Autofiction,” these cities have joined forces
to share their experiences and visions of future mobility.


The Project

Around Autofiction” is a traveling exhibition that provides an overview of various mobility projects carried out in UNESCO Creative Cities of Design with a long history in the automotive industry. It shows a snapshot of the respective activities and initiatives and focuses on innovative concepts to be rethought in the field of tension between social, ecological and economic issues.



The presented examples follow the intention to show the internationality and urgency of the mobility issue – because mobility is a socially, politically and ecologically pressing topic. This panorama of mobility is accompanied by objects and videos that support the work of designers, companies, researchers, students and users on the mobility of the future. Detroit, Geelong, Graz, Kortrijk, Puebla, Saint-Étienne and Turin are seven of 43 cities from the UNESCO Cities of Design network – at the same time traditional locations in the automotive industry. The cities have set themselves the task of sharing their experiences and visions on the subject of “mobility of the future”. Because while the individual’s desire for mobility continues to grow (the number of cars worldwide exceeded the 1.2 billion mark in 2020), there are also more and more efforts to change our consumption behavior, our use of resources, and our political and social positions.


The collective – VOLKSWAGEN AND HOWEST – Last year students in product design, game design and digital design of University College Howest – An Interdisciplinary Design & Production Studio is focused on wicked problems in our society. 12 top students selected out of 3 Howest bachelor degrees (Digital Arts & Entertainment, Digital Design & Development and Industrial Product Design) are working on the case about autonomous driving with Volkswagen. How big is the social impact of this product? Volkswagen is looking at the Collective to answer the question ‘What does autonomous driving really mean?’.

North-south Axis – Collective of designers for city of Kortrijk – Concept by Elise Vandeplancke
The North-South axis is an important mobility axis through the city of Kortrijk, continuous with open and closed spaces. Designregio Kortrijk brought together a collective of 9 designers to look for solutions on how to better involve this district. Imagine there are no more cars, the tunnel gets a roof, the village feeling returns, gardens become parks. Each designer developed one idea into a specific concept. The concepts of the designers were shown at Kortrijk Creativity Week 2019 as a source of inspiration.


A collaborative project involving students from College for Creative Studies BFA Transportation and Interior Design programs. Sponsored by Ford and GTB with support from Wayne State University, Entry Point is a place-based concept for a mobility hub envisioned to service the Detroit neighborhood of Brightmoor with education and entrepreneurial support, daycare and lifelong learning opportunities, and other community services.

Autopia – COLLEGE FOR CREATIVE STUDIES MFA, Dong Wang, Transportation Design Student In the year 2050, as autonomous, shared, service- oriented mobility becomes the norm it is easy to assume vehicles in such a system would be designed as optimized commodities. This raises the question that if personal vehicle ownership disappears will there no longer be a need for personal preference or therefore vehicle aesthetics at all? This thesis posits that the exact opposite could be true. That vehicles in such a future scenario might actually become more expressive than ever before precisely because they are not owned. Vehicles part of city-wide fleets could be specifically designed to not only match the exact packaging and functional needs a customer may have at any given hour in the day but even to suit a particular occasion or mood they may be in at any given moment.

MOGO – Adaptative MoGo, a Nonprofit Affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership
Adaptive MoGo offers cycling options for riders of all abilities! With 13 different cycles, Adaptive MoGo accommodates a wide range of rider needs identified through a co-creation design process. Kyra, a 13-year old girl with cerebral palsy, attended one of MoGo’s Demo Days on the Detroit Riverwalk. A staff member from Programs to Educate All Cyclists, a partner of Adaptive MoGo, found the right adaptive cycle (a recumbent tricycle) to fit Kyra’s needs, and she was riding within minutes of getting set up. This was her first time riding a bicycle – prior to Adaptive MoGo, she did not have access to the type of cycle that met her needs. 53 reservation rides have been taken on the cycles, and an additional 93 rides were taken through four Demo Days on the Detroit Riverwalk. Adaptive MoGo is one of the first accessible bikeshare programs in the United States.


Student project – FH JOANNEUM
Design as the intelligence of things. The focus of our work at the Institute of Industrial Design is on product and process design. We design intelligent objects and user experiences that take cultural, social and economic developments into account. Students taking the master’s programme in “Industrial Design” can specialise in Mobility Design. As part of this course students create projects ranging from cargo bikes to rescue drones, from driverless vehicles to intelligent traffic systems. Our institute took part in the international research project “WoodC.A.R. (Computer-Aided Research)”. The aim of this research was to increase the amount of wood used as a lightweight material in vehicle construction.

By road, by rail, by air or by water: People and goods can be transported in many different ways. However, these individual systems are rarely compatible with each other. As a provider of integrated solutions, Siemens Mobility is looking for precisely such intermodal innovations for the transportation of people and goods. The moodley industrial design team has been tasked with developing this intermodal approach to the future of mobility. They developed a concept that went far beyond well-known ideas of intermodality: a concept of supermodality. one for all is a system of compact EXO-units for the transport of passengers and goods that is compatible with very different carrier systems. The standardized units follow a uniform dimension system. The elements based on this grid can be used individually or in combination with each other for a wide variety of purposes. While the exterior dimensions are preserved, the interior of the pods is flexible and can even be personalized. one for all is a step into a future in which intermodality is thought through to it’s ultimate form.

WoodCAR – Developing a wood-based side impact bar
20 partners from science and economy jointly pursue the goal of making wood as a material simulatable and calculable in order to open up new fields of application e.g. the automotive industry. The development of a wood-based side impact bar for passenger cars demonstrates the innovative new role wood can play in car construction and the positive effects it has on our ecological footprint. The WoodC.A.R. research results provide answers to the questions which vehicle concepts will be needed in the future to achieve our climate goals and what role wood can play in this. Especially a cross-innovation approach as well as crosslinking the industries makes it possible to completely rethink the use of wood and to develop products for a sustainable future.


Roll-E – Benedict Quartey
The autonomous vehicle is seen as the travel system of the future by mobility players, i.e. car manufacturers, mobility operators, digital operators and local authorities. But more than a vehicle, the autonomous vehicle (AV) is to be considered as a communicating object that sucks in data from the territory in digital form and that interacts with its occupants, but also with the surrounding systems. Benedict Quartey of Ashesi University in Ghana, a researcher in the Computer Science Department has created the Roll-E, a modular and affordable autonomous vehicle model. It is designed for easy access in terms of equipment cost, prototyping and driving research.

CREALIS – Design IVECO BUS (internal development), Design Center/Engineering Center in Vénissieux, Production plan in Annonay
CREALIS is a bus for “Bus Rapid Transit”. Its style with character gives CREALIS great personality to drive into urban traffic versus cars. Alternative traction, such as electric, hybrid or natural gas / biomethane, provides energy transition solution of the Public Transport Authorities. Biomethane is a renewable local energy, from the treatment of urban and rural biowastes delivering 80% CO2 emission reduction. Passengers discover a welcoming interior, with increased luminosity, with wider glazing surfaces, indirect colored LED lighting, and customized layouts. Its body panels are of individual parts which can be replaced separately for easy maintenance. CREALIS received several awards : Comfort Label, Innovation, Sustainability.


LM&TH Electric Tricycle – LM&TH Automoviles
Automoviles is a very recognized design firm based in Puebla which has been designing parts and whole vehicles for the most important automotive companies but has also designed and developed a whole range of electric vehicles such as cars, bicycles, tricycles, race cars, and buses. We have chosen to showcase their tricycle for its versatility because the base model has been designed to transform itself into a three seater, a taxi, a pickup, a delivery truck and a special vehicle for disabled persons.

Pitch Bus – BUAP University
In the campus of the BUAP State University in the city of Puebla, which is a university with more than 85,000 students, there is a bus service. Part of these buses run around the very large campus, a group of students from the School of Administration convinced the dean to give them one of the buses which they turned into The Pitch Bus. It takes the bus close to 45 minutes in its route around the campus which is the perfect time for a pitch for an innovative idea. Students can chose to wait for the pitch bus to listen to a presentation from one of the students or take any other bus. They came out with this idea to promote entrepeneurship in the university. It has been a great success with students from all the different school that not only wait for the pitch bus to ride to move around but also for listening to the pitch or give one.


Torino Mobility Lab – City of Torino
The project aims to encourage walking and cycling and to promote alternative models to private cars, prioritizing pedestrians and designing a new road hierarchy in neighbourhoods according to the City of Torino’s transport policies. The area covered by the project is a highly populated neighbourhood including the Porta Nuova railway station, university premises, hospitals, schools, public services, local businesses and shops as well as the beautiful Valentino park. Core pillars of the project are innovative planning tools, sustainable mobility infrastructures, bike sharing systems’ enhancement, community engagement through participatory and education processes focusing on safe and sustainable mobility, actions involving the educational system, social support and widespread communication.


Geelong Clever and Creative Corridor – City of greater Geelong
The project establishes sustainable transport within new neighbourhoods. The project is envisaged as a treelined, boulevard style transit corridor that prioritises public transport, walking and cycling between schools and community facilities, sports grounds and local parks in each neighbourhood. The corridor will be designed with ‘interim’ and ‘ultimate’ configurations. The interim configuration allows for a dedicated, separated, commuter-style shared path and landscaping within the median reserve. Active transport movements will be encouraged and prioritised to promote ‘mode shift’ from private vehicles at the outset. Public transport movements will be catered for via ‘bus capable’ carriageways shared by all vehicles. The ultimate configuration allows for dedicated, separated public transport and landscaping within the median reserve.