The Driverless City Project, was presented by Professor Ron Henderson, Director of the MLA+U Program, at the 2017 joint meeting of the Council of Educators of Landscape Architects (CELA) and the Chinese Landscape Architecture Education Conference (CLAEC) in Beijing.

Professor Henderson also co-presented a paper, The Natural History of Beijing, with Assistant Professor Wu Hong from The Pennsylvania State University.

The Driverless City, a project based at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago with initial funding by the Nayar Prize, investigates the urban design implications of driverless and autonomous vehicles by developing social scenarios, technical solutions, infrastructure prototypes, and model urban codes to transform streets into twenty-first century human infrastructure.

As cities around the world leverage the opportunities and manage the impacts of driverless cars, this project investigates a transformative advance in transportation and communication technologies – the kind that have always changed cities and demanded new forms of physical infrastructure. In the next decades, we can improve urban social life by increasing the ecological performance, safety, and efficiency of streets while continuing to add vitality to our cities.

Henderson’s presentation outlined the findings after the first year of this multi-disciplinary investigation he has completed with IIT faculty Marshall Brown, Lili Du, Laura Forlano, and Jack Guthman. The presentation also included student research and projects from a Master of Landscape Architecture design studio that investigated The Driverless City.