March 7, 2013
Best Creativity: NYC Loop, by FXFOWLE.
When Mayor Bloomberg announced New York City’s Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge last winter, we were excited to see how designers would reimagine these idle relics of last century’s infrastructure into something other than a shading device for smartphone-browsing in sunny weather. From the looks of the finalists, which Bloomberg announced Tuesday, tomorrow’s payphone could have a lot of app-style features, from weather reports and wayfinding to voice and gesture control.
A handful of New York’s roughly 11,000 payphones already serve as wifi hotspots thanks to a pilot program (PDF) launched by the city last summer, so the leap to hyperconnectivity isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem. A few years down the line, we could all be using a shiny new network of payphones to call taxis by voice command, charge our devices, check the weather for our urban farms, and, inevitably, look at ads. The six finalists in five categories—creativity, connectivity, functionality, community impact, and visual design—are now competing for the popular choice prize. Vote for your favorite on Facebook before 5 p.m. EST on March 14, and you could help shape the payphone of the future. Read more!