Laval might soon have a new park that looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie — complete with bike paths powered by artificial intelligence and "smart" picnic tables.
The idea is the result of a partnership between the City of Laval and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Senseable City Lab.
Laval is the first city in Quebec to partner with the lab. The goal is to research and imagine what the upcoming Carré Laval development project for downtown Laval might look like.
Laval is the first city in Quebec to join MIT's prestigious global research consortium, which is recognized as a leader in innovation. I find that this perfectly illustrates the dynamism of our beautiful municipality.
Marc Demers, Mayor of Laval
While the project is still a work in progress, the researchers set out six preliminary proposals, "echo[ing] citizens' desire to make the downtown core an innovative, distinctive and inclusive place to rest and socialize."
The six ideas include some truly futuristic proposals that merge A.I. with the real living environment, such as:
The aforementioned A.I.-powered bike paths, "designed to provide exercise and health advice to park users."
"Laser-etched glass surfaces serving as memory devices" to help people "record and visualize experiences across time" — whatever that means.
The FORA Project, a series of "digitally enhanced interactive chairs" that will invite citizen discussions.
The ITable Project, a picnic table to "give free rein to ideas and creativity in the open air."
MinecARft, "an augmented reality interface that gives citizens and visitors new ways to come up with ideas for the park and the city."
FOODPRINT, a series of "smart open kitchens" where food is supplied by local farms and producers.
"We are happy to work with the City of Laval to imagine public spaces as environments conducive to innovation," said Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City Lab.
The research will continue until 2022. Citizens can participate in the process on the Repensons Laval website.