The Collective Picture

Vintage Photography Redefined

admin On January - 24 - 2010

Transportation systems form the outline of a city, mapping points of intersection and defining spaces based on these connections. In one sense they appear as very industrialized, dug into the earth, fortified and stabilized with construction and existing as almost dead spaces devoid of natural growth. But nature’s organisms have been building transporting systems long before the inauguration of the London underground in 1863. Researchers in Japan have recently shown that these well designed distribution systems exist not just in ant colonies but also in slime mold. The researchers used the slime mold as the center city and placed pieces of oat around it to represent smaller towns. The mold stretched out to form a tunneled system that best retrieved and distributed the nutrients from the oat. Once the mold had its system set up it resembled the transit system of Tokyo as can be seen in these images.

The full article can be found here.

Congestion continues to plague many urban spaces, a problem which requires increasingly innovative approaches to the idea of transportation. Recognizing that these modes of distribution exist in the very basic structures of life has the potential to inspire better design. The underworld of a subway may seem removed from the cities that they run under but they are the lifeblood of it. At its very core a subway provides the circulation system similar to what exists in our own human bodies, in an insect community and yes even in mold. Life on earth depends on sourcing and distribution and the more efficient and adaptable we are to this the better chances we have of living in sync with our surroundings.

1900 1906 city hall subway station New York Slime Subway Systemtranportation

Between 1900 and 1906. City Hall subway station, New York. Detroit Publishing Co. Library of Congress.

1901 New York City construction transit 1024x592 Slime Subway Systemtranportation

June 8, 1901. Rapid transit construction work at Union Square, New York City, June 8, 1901. Photo copyrighted by Underhill, N.Y.C. Library of Congress.

Paris Metro construction 03300288 5 Slime Subway Systemtranportation

Construction du métro, Paris 1902-1910.

1904 subway New York N.Y Slime Subway Systemtranportation

c1904. In the subway, New York, N.Y. Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection. Library of Congress

c1904 City Hall subway station New York Slime Subway Systemtranportation

c1904. Ticket office, City Hall subway station, New York. Detroit Publishing Co. copyright claimant, publisher. Library of Congress.

c1905 1945 senate subway Slime Subway Systemtranportation

Between 1905 and 1945 Senate Subway R.R. Harris & Ewing Collection (Library of Congress). Washington, D.C.

c1912 LaSalle St.Subway Tunnel pennsylvania  Slime Subway Systemtranportationc1912. LaSalle St. Tunnel – looking south from north end of Twin Bore. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Copyright by Wm. M. Christie. Library of Congress.

subway entrance Berlin Slime Subway Systemtranportation

Entrance, Berlin. Library of Congress.

subway fire Slime Subway Systemtranportation

Subway fire, breaking through subway roof. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

1896 millennium undergound Budapest Hungray2 1023x814 Slime Subway Systemtranportation1896. Millennium Underground, the end of the tunnel at Heroes’ square in Budapest, Hungary.

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