Aug 10, 2022 - News

Artist uses AI to reimagine Carytown without cars

Carytown with no cars and a rainbow painted in the middle of the street
Carytown imagined without cars — and also a large rainbow in the street. Image courtesy of @betterstreetsai

What would Carytown look like with no cars and open for pedestrians only? Urban planning advocate Zach Katz cannot only tell you, but he can show you — using the AI image-generation platform DALL-E, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick reports.

  • Katz, a 28-year-old Brooklyn-based artist, is blowing up on urbanist Twitter thanks to his AI-generated images that show real-world, car-dense streets as pedestrian utopias. He's recreated cities like New York, Boston and even Richmond.

Why it matters: Images are powerful tools for imagining what's possible in urban design — and Katz's work is already being used by advocates across the country to push for the changes they want.

Yes, but: In Richmond, we get a chance to experience Carytown without cars once a year, when the streets close for the annual Carytown Watermelon Festival, which is celebrating its 40th year this Sunday from 10am-6pm.

Be smart: The Carytown Watermelon Festival wasn't always called that — nor was it in celebration of watermelon. It was "Discover Carytown Day" until the founder took a trip to South Carolina and discovered the sweet fruit celebration we all know today, Richmond Magazine's Harry Kollatz Jr. reports.

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