What comes after mobility? Or, rather, what comes after mobility when the word is understood, much as it has been during most of the course of the 20th century, as automobility? According to a manifesto that I wrote in the late summer of 2016, the answer is MOVABILITY.
Movability is a word I encountered in the course of research in the Piaggio archives in Pontedera. Apparently coined by an advertising agency in the 1960s, it was a neologism designed to capture the revolution in emerging habits associated with Vespa scooters: the manifold ways in which they reshaped people’s use of public space, gave rise to a sense of community, and conditioned new ways and scales of moving about towns and cities. The research took place as I was finalizing the book FuturPiaggio – Six Italian Lessons on Mobility and Modern Life (Rizzoli, 2016): a visually rich extended essay on the elements that compose the Piaggio family of brands on the occasion of its 130th anniversary. Though focused on the past, the book was also animated by many lively conversations about the present and future of light mobility. At the time Piaggio Fast Forward was transitioning from operating as a kind of think/do tank to developing gita, the first member of its family of mobile carriers. So my colleagues challenged me to formulate a vision of the future of light mobility consonant with our collaborative work in progress and, in so doing, to give some extra punch to a book that is both a history of an 135 year old company and a philosophical essay on selfhood and movement. The result was the Movability Manifesto, deliberately cast in the ludic mode of a futurist manifesto. The manifesto was expertly laid out by my collaborator Daniele Ledda at xycom as per my instructions and printed on a broadsheet that was folded into every copy of the book.
Here it is:
A downloadable copy is available here.