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Elementary Schoolers Imagine Street Carts of the Future

by Caroline Pham
August 19, 2014

Design studio The Extrapolation Factory and arts-focused nonprofit NUTUREart recently collaborated with a classroom of elementary school students in Bushwick, Brooklyn, tasking the mostly 10-year-old kids with imagining what street vendors and mobile service stations might offer us in the future.

Elliot P. Montgomery, co-founder of The Extrapolation Factory along with partner Chris Woebken, asked the groups to consider four categories: climate, language, insects, and robots, while concepting their creations. Additionally, they were asked to peer into the future, to contemplate their current neighborhoods and ponder what change they’d like to see happen as their 30-year-old future selves.

The Spare Change Machine

The ideas that emerged were an eclectic mixture of surprisingly forward-thinking, kind-heartedly noble, straight up useful, and plain entertaining. Final concepts were made into scale models using recycled art supplies and various odds and ends from 99 cent stores, making for amusingly, imaginative prototypes. There was the pragmatic ‘Bug Farm,’ a portable hive for a range of insects to aid your urban farm or backyard garden; the benevolent ‘Spare Change Machine,’ which scooped up scrap metal to mash into coins for the homeless; or the particularly impressive ‘Platoon Garden,’ which grows GMO plantains that, once eaten, can sense climate change within the consumer.

The Platano Garden

“Those were some of the most unruly students in the class,” Montgomery told Motherboard about the group behind the ‘Spare Change Machine.’ “Their ideas were community-orientated, and even though they were ruffians in class, they had an idea which was really altruistic.”

The Weather Controller

The prototypes are on display at Invisible Exports in New York until August 24.

Photos courtesy The Extrapolation Factory

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