AI for Rewilding Your Street
The “Dutch Cycling Lifestyle” app replaces cars with plants, bikes and pedestrians
That picture above? It’s a before-and-after image of a road near where I live. The picture was modified by “Dutch Cycling Lifestyle”, a fun new web app where you upload a picture of a street filled with cars, and it uses an AI filter to remove the vehicles — replacing them with plants, walkable pathways, and bicycles.
It’s a clever little idea for helping us reimagine our cities. What would it look like if your neighborhood suddenly changed the avenues so they were focused heavily on serving pedestrians and people, instead of mostly just 2-ton vehicles?
You can give it a try yourself. Pump in any street address and it’ll grab a picture from Google maps, then run its filtering magic.
Here’s another example, done by the Romford Recorder in the UK …
When it comes to cities, rewilding requires an imaginative leap. We have to look at the world around us and wonder, huh, how could we run things differently?
That’s not easy to do! For the last 100 years, North America has been so thoroughly terraformed around cars and trucks that it’s hard to perceive the status quo as anything but normal. It takes a dedicated act of noticing to look out your window, see cars and trucks whizzing by and perceive them not as totes regular things but as deadly, overpowered personal mechas that have, bizarrely, become equipment necessary to purchase and retrieve a single quart of milk in many US cities — mechas which, in recent years, have grown ever-more-massive, as owners seek to defend themselves against the terrifying danger of their neighbor’s mechas. Cars are so hilariously, derangedly over-specced for the vast majority of their uses that they now constitute one the least efficient uses of matter in the history of human civilization.