It’s a problem faced by most of us living in modern urban cities: transportation and parking. Environmentally (and economically) aware urbanites have long relied on mass transit, carpooling, bicycling and good old fashioned walking. In recent years, there have been a number of companies trying to fill the gap between private vehicle ownership, and the public bus. Companies like Flexcar, which later merged with Zipcar, are probably the most commonly known car sharing companies. However, within the last couple of years, another player has slowly, but steadily been entering the market.
Launched in Germany in 2008, car2go made its US debut in Austin in 2010, just in time for SXSW. Since then, it has steadily been growing in popularity in urban metropolitan regions across the world. Unlike other car sharing services, no advanced reservation is necessary. But most impressive is that vehicles can be driven one-way and parked on any public street curb. The company negotiates annual parking rates directly with cities, so drivers never have to worry about paying for parking.
SXSW Low Power FM panel
The FCC has opened up a rare window of opportunity for non-commercial organizations to start new low-powered radio stations in urban areas, and Seattle’s Brown Paper Tickets is trying to help as many people as possible navigate the application process.
Sabrina Roach is heading up BPT’s “Make Radio Challenge,” which is providing free assistance to applicants for the Low-Powered FM (LPFM) stations. As part of the effort, Brown Paper Tickets organized a launch brunch during South by Southwest Interactive.
Along with breakfast burritos and Bloody Mary’s, a panel discussed the importance of LPFM stations as an outlet which will enable communities to tell their own stories and reach people who may not have easy online access.
“Radio is one of the most successful media platforms we have available to us,” said Garlin Gilchrist of MoveOn.org. “LPFM allows people to produce and consume narratives that are important to them.”
Based on this past week’s shenanigans at SXSW Interactive in Austin, very soon we will all be sitting at home gesticulating wildly at monitors or TV’s in order to make a booking on a rocket to space while our shirts are connecting us to the internet and our glasses are telling us we better book our Car2go and leave now if we are going to make our space rocket because the traffic is terrible – even before we think to check. We won’t need to carry any little plastic souvenirs back with us from space because we will be able to print them from our 3D printers when we get home. And because we are all “just storytellers” we will never bore anyone with our space travel tales.
Ok, so maybe the space travel thing is a little far off (Elon Musk is working on it even if NASA isn’t) but gesture technology, wearables, ride sharing, 3D printing and the importance of content and story were all front and center in Austin this past week.
As you, dear reader, will already know, six of your Flip the Media correspondents made the trip to Texas to cover SXSW for you – as well as learn a few things for themselves and perhaps partake in a barbecued rib or two. Having now been on two of these sojourns, I can confidently tell you it’s all at once an inspiring, fascinating, educative, frustrating, tiring and irritating experience. But it’s not to be missed. And on behalf of the Flip 6, I want to thank the MCDM powers that be for supporting the initiative. Continue reading