Micro-mobility devices to handle "micro-distance"
When it comes to mobility, people are in general mesmerized by Velib or Zipcar lately but there are there sorts of devices that I find very intriguing: aluminium scooters or K-2 Kickboard Scooter. Some people would argue that this for start-up pricks (because real value is in pure P&P skateboarding gear) or that it is childish and useless but I don't think so. I don't have any scooters but what I find interesting here is the notion of "micro-mobility" and the balance of cost: the cost to use the device is low (lower than unfolding the A-bike Adam gave me for instance). And it's way cheaper than a Sidekick. Another characteristic is that it can be used indoor/outdoor.
Invented around 2000 by dutch/swiss banker Wim Outboter, these scooters are still very popular. His point at that time was to solve this concrete problem:
"When Wim was 30 years old and living in Zurich, he came across a problem. His favourite sausage shop was too far away to walk, yet not far away enough to take the car out of the garage. 'I called it a microdistance,' he says. 'I made a primitive scooter using the wheels of some inline skates and it worked. The only problem was that when I went down town on it, people laughed at me.' With his characteristic mixture of a kid's desire to be cool and a grown-up's application of technology, Wim worked at the scooter until it was small enough to hide in his backpack. It still took another 10 years (and the constant encouragement of his wife) to get the invention on the road."
Why do I blog this? interest in less common means of transport and their implications in terms of design (of the device itself as well as the infrastructure to support it). Micro-mobility devices also seems to be a bit dismissed in the discourse about the future of mobility in urban environment, although scooters, lifts, elevators, electric sidewalks, etc are prominent in our everyday life. And high-rise architects surely have to deal with that.