Tube time : how the subterranean city got faster by design

Lawrence, David (2016) Tube time : how the subterranean city got faster by design. In: Design and Time : Design History Society Conference 2016; 08-10 Sep 2016, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Through the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first, the trains beneath our feet have moved us ever faster across the metropolis. They are the obvious machines we encounter along the way, but they represent only a part of the totally designed environment of the Underground. Whilst stylistic details of this environment have shifted conceptually and materially through the decades, in every element from the cardboard pocket map to the digital space modelling systems now used to plan services. This paper examines the evolution of the transport network as a sophisticated organism, at once mechanical monster and ‘soft machine’, to consider how its design, and its industrial, graphic, spatial and information designers, have flourished as a result of our urge to move ever faster.

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