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America2050: A Journey to Detroit

America2050 describes itself as a “national initiative to meet the infrastructure, economic development and environmental challenges of the nation as we prepare to add about 130 million additional Americans by the year 2050.” Guided by a coalition of regional planners, scholars and policy-makers, the project looks at the emergence of “mega-regions”, large networks of metropolitan areas where it says most population growth in the United States will occur in the years ahead.

To help envision mobility in that future, the project produced this video and introduces it as follows:

Sometime in the not too distant future, John wakes up in suburban Chicago on a Saturday morning and heads to a White Sox game…in Detroit. Join him on a 300 mile journey to Detroit’s Comerica Park as he experiences the transportation options of the future: a neighborhood electric car share program, smart phone ticketing, high-speed rail, and connecting light rail. 

See it here.



  1. dwoollcombe

    1) Does it help
    people understand that we can “get there from here”? In Mobility terms, yes. But again, I am not persuaded that I would ever undertake a journey like that – especially if I liked Freeway driving. I understand in an intellectual way – but the artifice of the animation does not compel affection for that Future: it is a Future I understand, rather than a Future I want. 4/10

    2) Does it offer
    a holistic vision? In terms of mobility – yes. I like the bikes there at the station too. Also it has strong science underpinning lacking in the other videos. 6/10

    3) Does it help
    create an emotional as well as intellectual understanding of sustainable
    development? Nothing like as much as the Kansas City video – it is a cool story, but rather an unexciting one. 6/10

  2. We liked this video and it was fun to watch. However we don’t feel as if it is functional for the majority of people because you need a smartphone, a drivers license, and you need to be technologically savvy and it probably wont relate to people in other countries or even low income areas. We liked the ideas but it didn’t work for us overall. 6/10

  3. I didn’t enjoy all the text in this video.  It made me realize that I connect with narration much better, similar to a story teller or a folk singer.  Having both auditory and graphic descriptions seems to help me grasp a video’s vision better.  The video focuses a lot on transportation and misses the impact of what revitalization could mean for a struggling city like Detroit.  Impact is 5 out of 10.  

  4. Vanessa Timmer

    This video is focused on transportation and smart technology; however, the animators add a number of other elements that pop up in the film.  I find the overlay animation useful although agree with that it is a bit text heavy.  It is certainly a day in the life of this person in Chicago even though the actor could have been slightly more animated.  The pacing on the film is a bit slow.  I do like the way he transitions from one mode to another and is just going about his day on his way to meet a friend at the game.  I think it is worth including because of the overlay animation.  7/10

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