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Planning the Transit Hubs of the Future

How do you future-proof railway stations, metro hubs, and bus terminals? Urban planner Caroline Bos has a few pointers.
Looks good now, but what about in a few decades? The main hall of the new Arnhem Station in the Netherlands.
Looks good now, but what about in a few decades? The main hall of the new Arnhem Station in the Netherlands.©Hufton+Crow

What does the train station of the future look like? It’s a question that architects and urban planners must at least try to answer whenever they design new transit networks or terminals. Railway stations of the past are often beautiful (and occasionally loathed), but in a world where transit patterns and technology change rapidly, time is not typically kind to these expensive and inflexible pieces of infrastructure. The United States is littered with discarded rail and bus stations as architecturally charming as they are useless; even relatively recent cases such as that of Tel Aviv’s massive and famously misbegotten bus station, which opened in the 1990s, show we still haven’t learned our lesson.

In seeking an answer, Caroline Bos, urban planner and co-founder of Dutch architecture and urban planning practice UNStudio, is better placed than most of her colleagues to tackle the question’s complexities.