Signal Failure – TIME Feb 25th 2008

Last week, I read a very interesting article by Michael Brunton in the Feb 25th edition of TIME magazine.

Shortly, it describes a radical experiment conducted in Holland, in the province of Friesland. There, Hans Monderman, a traffic engineer redesigned the street layout of Frisian town and villages by removing road signs, traffic lights and surface marking. His theory is that « if you want people to behave in a village, maybe you have to make it feel like a village ». He also spread flowerpots which reduced average traffic speed by 10% and cut shared space on the street in half.

What I find very interesting in this approach is the fact that it is intended to force people sharing the street space « to look each other in the eye, to judge body language and learn to take responsibility – to function as normal human beings ».
Removing signs to generate a need for real communication… that’s brave and brilliant at the same time !

In a time when a crowd of signs surrounds us whenever we take a step… inside or outside, in the reality or in virtual worlds, isn’t it a good idea to center our life on real communication ? Using tools nature gave us (I mean … eyes, hands, arms… and whatever you use to interact with real people…)…

Let’s think about it !


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