Global Futures Design Lab Presents:
Building Better Bridges
Design thinking meets urban planning, engineering, nature and community.
The Building Better Bridges learning module that can be adapted for grades k-5. This project can be done as a stand-alone design challenge or as a module within the 3DuxDesign comprehensive 3DuxDesign Global Futures Design Lab. GFDL is a student-centered project based learning program that inspires students to imagine, design and build solutions to real-world challenges. It is a highly immersive, multi-media initiative connecting kids worldwide. With lessons, building materials and an online student showcase, young innovators will transcend national boundaries to bond over a shared passion - building a brighter future.
In the Building Bridges activity, students will engage in the design thinking process, teamwork and experimentation as they design and test possible solutions for some unintended consequences of urban expansion.
Begin by watching this 2 minute video...
The Building Better Bridges Project is a learning module that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. This project can be done as a stand-alone design challenge or as a part of the 3DuxDesign comprehensive GFDL.
Students will use the design thinking process and teamwork as they design a solution for some unintended consequences of urban expansion.
Now it's time to watch the 2 minute video...
The 3Dux Global Futures Design Lab has called us for help again! The city is thriving. Since the landmark we designed last week is so popular, Paper Town’s downtown district is bustling with visitors! New businesses are popping up daily! The urban planning committee has asked us to design a highway to help decompress the increased traffic flow.
Having a highway is a great way to improve traffic but there are downsides too. Besides causing air and noise pollution, we all know that highways can be pretty unseemly, ruining the natural landscape.
We did some research and it gets even worse!. in the US, more than 1,000,000 animals are killed every day by motor vehicles. We also found over 1.2 million accidents are cause in the usa ONLY by deer every year.
In our community, we think that one accident is too many. Preventing unintended harm to people and animals is of upmost importance. So we decided to put some real thought into the design of our highway with preservation of the the natural landscape and animal and human life in mind.
Now everything about urban design is a balance. Because we designed Paper Town, USA with a focus on preserving nature, the animals seem to like to visit our community on a VERY regular basis…. SOME animals also like to find sneaky ways to get into the garbage (but that’s a project for another day). The point is, animals tend to meander through paper town but crossing the highway to get back to the woods can be a treacherous journey.
Research and Designing Solutions
We did some research on possible solutions. The most promising design we found was in Banff National Park. In fact, all along the 4,800 mile long Trans-Canada Highway, there are bridges designed as broad, forested promenades for wild animals to cross. The naturalistic design looks great from the highway compared to a steel or concrete bridge. And from the animals’ perspective, it looks like a grassy knoll, leading them home (or, depending on the direction they’re going, back to the city for a fun night on the town)
In addition to bridges, adding naturalistic fences and animal under passes has reportedly reduced the rate of traffic accidents by 80 percent. We only have a budget for two. Data shows that almost all animals (except black bears and mountain lions) prefer the overpass.
so we opted for bridge and fencing.
Once we had the basic concept down, it was time to design the bridge so its sturdy and also make sure the animals actually USE the bridge rather than the highway. We decided to add a natural-appearing barrier along the highway and add the bridges at a regular interval so that the animals don’t need to travel too far. Lastly, we need the design to minimize impact so we decided to make it a “living bridge” adding grass, trees and even a camera for researchers and scientists to gather animal health and population data.
We did a bit more research on bridge design an engineering. We discovered that there are many ways to build a bridge and the strength of the bridge depends on the way it it built. We decided to test out 3 designs
The Beam Bridge is the most basic but not super-strong.
This is one type of truss bridge with only two very long supports.
This truss bridge uses shorter steel beams, Our hypothesis is that this will be the strongest. (But we won't tell you our results).
The arch bridge is yet another popular design.
Here we opted for another beam bridge but with vertical beams for extra support