When was the last time you used a public phone booth? There are still 11,000 of them around the city (down from 35,000 15 years ago), but thanks to cell phones, most people barely even think about pay phones, let alone use them. People have experimented with transforming the booths into things like mini libraries and touchscreen information booths, and now Mayor Bloomberg has made the design challenge official. Slate reports that last night Bloomberg introduced the challenge via video at the New York Tech Meetup, inviting anyone and everyone to submit ideas on the contest website.
The guidelines for the challenge, aptly named "Reinvent Payphones" are flexible, with the most important requirement being that the phones still need to be enable for communication so users can make calls, especially in emergency situations. Prototype applications are due in February, and there will be an information session on January 23 for applicants to learn more about what the city wants to gain from the challenge. Semi-finalists will demonstrate their ideas on March 5th. While we anxiously await that day, feel free to leave your ideas for the reinvented phone booth in the comments.
· Michael Bloomberg Wants To Do Something Cool With New York's Phone Booths [Slate]
· Reinvent Pay Phones [official site]
Photo by svanes/Curbed Flickr pool