Flightpath Toronto (collaboration with Natalie Jeremijenko, Environmental Health Clinic, NYU) invited thousands of citizens to explore flight as a rapid and emissionless form of urban transportation, in a temporary deployment of urban 'flylines' across the city's central square.
‘Flylines’ are zip-lines (used in mountainous regions for hundreds of years, delivering food, tools, goods and people) applied to the urban context, acting as an alternative, inexpensive, fast and emissionless form of transportation for people and goods over distances of up to 1 km or longer. Faster than walking, flylines are cheaper and cleaner than buses and, in the appropriate context, easier to implement than cycle lanes. Apart from increasing transportation options, in helping reduce diesel exhaust, flyline corridors can also have significant health benefits.
Though some cities deploy cable cars, zip-lines (deployed worldwide for entertainment and eco-tourism purposes) are comparatively quick to deploy and re-deploy, making them a particularly agile way for communities to experiment with configurations, especially across mobility obstructions like rivers and motorways. They can therefore involve citizens directly in decision making about locations, commuting corridors, cost/health/safety benefits, etc.
In Flightpath Toronto, commissioned by the City of Toronto for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2011, 7 flylines were deployed across Nathan Phillips Square for one night, along with an urban flight school, an interactive visual airscape and a control tower which responded to the voices of members of the public. The deployment enabled hundreds of people, enwinged, to experience flylines directly and re-imagine the city and the way we move through it.