Near-Fi Romance Station
Research and Design for Interlude | XD, Filming, Editing, FX
A design fiction for Future Cities Catapult and Grimshaw Architects.
By Experience Design Master Students at Hyper Island, 2015
Austin Beer, Christine Valentin, Emma Crowe, Jia Liang "JL" Wong, Natalie Foo, Tracey Valliere-Evans
The act of traveling on a train evokes feelings of calmness, relaxation and romanticism. Changing scenery and rolling landscapes send our imaginations far away. Yet train stations are seen to be stressful, functional places, full of busy and distracted people.
Right now, over 50% of UK adults are stressed every day. Our cities are growing, and, despite train stations being the heart of the city, they are becoming hostile locations. While city stations offer easy access to its people, this close proximity does not mean intimacy. In fact, loneliness can be most acute in a crowd. British people are less likely to have strong friendships or know their neighbours more than anywhere else in the EU. Depression and anxiety are increasing in the UK. These statistics, combined with our move to a more technological society - where we may be even more disconnected from real-life connections - paints a bleak picture of our future.
In this future of increased urbanisation - through city growth and the creation of mega-cities - natural environments will get further and further away from urban areas, making it difficult to access areas of natural greenery. Research shows that exposure to nature can produce increased energy, helps to lower stress levels, and gives a heightened sense of well-being that relieves exhaustion. Natural surroundings have social as well as personal benefits; exposure to natural, as opposed to man-made environments, leads people to value community and close relationships. Building nature into urban environments will help to create a stronger sense of community among residents.
Cities should be doing more to keep and introduce these areas of tranquility into cityscapes. Providing representations of nature as a civic function in the heart of the city will help cultivate connections between the unconnected.