New mobility for alternative futures

We envisioned a new character for mobility in the city of Lugano and the Region nearby, by interpreting the signals in society, business and technology and by using design as a leverage to exploit opportunities.

Technological scenario of a desirable future for Lugano

We envisioned a new character for mobility in the city of Lugano and the Region nearby, by interpreting the signals in society, business and technology and by using design as a leverage to exploit opportunities.


Environment & Mobility




Sketchin + BAK Economics


A future envisioning project

Designing for the long-term future affects the way we, as a society, take strategic decisions for today: design plays a key role in understanding the social, economic and political implications of complex systems - as the cities are - by building scenarios and envisioning possible futures. It defines the transition towards a preferable and more sustainable future to improve quality of life and change social behaviors accordingly.

We tried to envision a desirable future for Lugano - our hometown in Southern Switzerland - and its context, by developing different scenarios for mobility infrastructure to show how the city can look like in 2040.

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The scenarios we have proposed show how it is possible to make choices that strive for the best possible future for citizens, by considering the currently existing technologies and starting the debate within the Region, thus creating awareness and gathering strategic public and private partners.

Signals for a changing region

Every design act starts from the comprehension of its application context.

In collaboration with BAK Economics, we have analyzed the current data trends affecting Lugano and the Tessin region, as well as global trends, to understand which direction the future is taking, and to comprehend from which aspects we should start to define the scenarios.

By involving stakeholders from different sectors such as municipalities, economy experts and mobility infrastructure specialists, we conducted a series of collaborative and explorative activities to collect all the current critical situations on the territory and discuss the world’s best practices in terms of mobility and urban wellbeing.  

We were therefore able to recognize many crucial signals of change: actual small events, innovations and local news with great growth potential, capable of disruption on a bigger scale.

Trend representation of data affecting Lugano and the Ticino region
Indices of regional accessibility to public and private transport

The future is a matter of vision

Our visions of Lugano aim at an extended “soft city” defined by a new mobility and new relations between the citizens and the city places: an interconnected ecosystem to make it a lively and attractive center for families, young talents and innovative companies.

We explored three contexts spreading from the city centre to international relations: the historic center of Lugano, the extended City, and the worldwide connections of the region.

Each one of these contexts includes a general description and a selection of specific features.

Scenario of the historic centre of Lugano with electric, automatic and on-demand public transport
Scenario of Lake Lugano connected by electric ferries

Lugano Soft City

In our scenario, people are the most precious asset of the city: a soft city is therefore a cozy and easy city which adapts to the changing needs of its citizens, fueling their relations, multiplying opportunities, gaining benefits from the confluence of people and buildings and offering the conditions for a happy living.

The center of Lugano is a lively and vibrant space that mixes with the peripheral areas, without borders. There are offices of international firms, premium shops, a wide offer of clubs and restaurants that are open until late in the evening. Many families prefer quieter neighborhoods and experience the center in their free time, while many others appreciate its vitality.

Lugano Soft City

Main features

  • The city center is for pedestrians only, no private cars are allowed.
  • Life in the city centre is lively and vibrant.
  • The city promotes healthy mobility.
  • Public transportation is electric, automated and on-demand.
  • The traffic is managed in real time.
  • Urban surfaces are transformable.
  • Street spaces are a commercial resource.
  • Buildings are multifunctional.
  • Business hours are freely regulated.
  • The city context is full of biodiversity.
  • The lake's shores are connected by electric ferries.
  • Living in the centre is economically accessible.
  • A sense of collective belonging permeates the neighbourhoods.
  • Different generations live together in the same community.
Concept of an interface with route information

The Great Lugano

The city is defined by the systems of relations and interconnections between citizens and places: an extended, poly-centric, inclusive and sustainable city where people can freely move according to their needs.

In 2040 the territory will have changed its appearance, the widespread region will have integrated Ticino City: a polycentric city, but cohesive in its administrative, economic and infrastructure management.

In other words, the main cities in Ticino - Bellinzona, Locarno, Lugano and Mendrisio - will no longer be separate entities, but will all be bustling hubs of the Ticino City.

Roadmap of how mobility and ease of connection between Ticino's main cities will change in 2040

The Great Lugano

Main features

  • The region is systemically run.
  • Urbanization develops around the mobility hubs.
  • The Park & Ride are more advanced and multifunctional.
  • The highways are smart and self-sustainable.
  • A single touchpoint manages all the travel necessities.
  • Private companies are involved in traffic management.
  • The human capital gains new skills.
Futuristic concept with all-electric aircraft
Private green flights from Lugano Airport

Lugano and the world

The centrality of a region is not defined by its geographical location only, but also by the ease of its connection with the rest of the world. 

The location of the Great Lugano as a midpoint between the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the major economic and political capitals (Milan, Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt, London) makes Ticino a privileged and attractive place for economic capital, companies and people.

Roadmap of how mobility and ease of connection between Ticino's main cities will change in 2040

Lugano and the world

Main features

  • Green private flights depart from Lugano Airport.
  • Air fleets are fully electric.
  • Drones fly from Lugano to Malpensa / Davos / Sankt Moritz.
  • Malpensa to be reached in 40 minutes by train.
  • Slow-travel tourism is enabled by cruise airships.
  • The underground highway allows more green and more silence 
  • International collaborations are set for cross-border mobility.

Thanks to our scenarios, we started a conversation and were able to involve actual partners willing to invest in better mobility, future and life. Emerging future exploration and envisioning are methodologies that can be applied to any business sector or foreseeing companies willing to raise their next-to-be.

Project numbers

months of R&D activities
designers in the Sketchin team
BAK Economics data analysts
future scenarios envisioned
signals of change explored
city-features defined

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