In today’s bustling metropolises, how can a city truly feel like home? With more cars on the streets than ever before, our urban landscapes often seem as though designed primarily around cars rather than the people who inhabit them. Bolt, a mobility provider, questions how mobility services can help create urban environments that resonate with both businesses and citizens. In the new ‘Feels like Home’ video, Bolt envisions scenarios where our cities regain a sense of belonging.


Hagar Abiri, an architect, urbanist, and city user renowned for her design projects through her studio HAA&D, lends her urbanist insights to interpret scenes from Bolt’s ‘Feels like Home’ video.

urban architect reviews bolt's feels like home video that challenges car-centricity
scene one: a quiet, comfortable moment for city dwellers to enjoy a morning coffee in their neighborhood



bolt’s feels like home video reimagines cities with fewer cars


Bolt’s ‘Feels like Home’ video opens with a challenge to the conventions of urban planning as well as the clothes choices of its inhabitants. As the city dweller walks the streets in her robe and slippers, it is apparent how the urban landscape is dominated by cars: wider roads, more parking spots, and elevated noise and pollution. This car-centric mindset of old has resulted in over half our city streets to be monopolized by private vehicles, which remain idle 95% of the time. Instead, inhabitants need more space to enjoy peace and quiet, perhaps comfortable enough to wear pyjamas. Both Bolt and urban expert Hagar Abiri propose urban life where a decrease in car use paves the way for a healthier urban lifestyle.


We [the viewer] and really see the amount of space for cars relative to the small space for people on city streets,’ explains Hagar Abiri, architect and founder of HAA&D, to designboom. ‘During the Covid pandemic, restaurants moved seats outdoors, often into spaces that were typically designated for car parking. Some instances of this became permanent and so a table outside is the new normal. Streets, when cleaned of cars, present an opportunity to fill that empty space. It could be restaurants but also a place for neighbors to hang out, which is common in Mediterranean countries.


urban architect reviews bolt's feels like home video that challenges car-centricity
scene one: a couple starts their day by dining al fresco on the street in a space normally reserved for car parking



In the second scene, she continues, ‘the kid playing in the parking lots if actually a strong symbol. Dead end streets typically lead nowhere and become big parking lots between buildings. This area can potentially be a great place for children to play and people to meet up. The Mauer Park in Berlin, for reference, is now a cultural community spot, but originally it was planned to be a highway after the fall of the Wall.


These initial scenes in Bolt’s video allude to how a more pedestrian-centric approach to urban infrastructure can drive a positive effect. Instead of highways splitting communities within our cities, fewer roads can create more space for children to play, neighbors to connect, and culture to be promoted. In the end, we all aspire to a sense of community.


urban architect reviews bolt's feels like home video that challenges car-centricity
scene two: a large parking lot is reimagined as a community space for children to play safely



cities that prioritize people, wildlife, and greenery


The cities in the future should not only focus on prioritizing people over cars, but also encompass wildlife and greenery. Urban environments are in need of a radical transformation, beyond the mere planting of trees along the roadside. Abiri highlights the health benefits of urban gardens and the joy it brings to local insects.


Everybody can benefit from gardening. It helps people feel healthier and it helps the wildlife too. Bees, for instance, fly short distances to pollinate other plants. Green corridors in cities reposition humans as part of ecosystems again. It is a win-win,’ adds the architect.

urban architect reviews bolt's feels like home video that challenges car-centricity
scene three: urbanites can enjoy the health benefits of gardening, which also aids city biodiversity and climate



As Bolt’s video continues to play, it is evident that ideas for greenery should not be limited to the city’s streets only. Ingenious, space-saving ideas are in need at a higher level. Rooftops are wasted design potential, when prioritized for parking. Abiri imagines how these spaces can serve culture activities – like cinema experiences – as well as climate. According to the World Economic Forum, cities are warming 29% more than rural areas. The cooling effect of plants, which can reduce temperatures by two to seven degrees, can help all city dwellers from the rooftops, for example.


Greenery also helps cool down the temperature. […] We need to recreated ecosystems that are similar to the natural forest in Bolt’s video: more bushes, more trees, and more wild grass to improve biodiversity,’ mentions the urban expert. ‘Rooftops have great potential. I like the notion of turning a rooftop into an enjoyable gardening space, where the wildlife achieves a cooling effect for all.


urban architect reviews bolt's feels like home video that challenges car-centricity
scene four: a couple transforms a rooftop car park into a cinema experience whilst ordering food



the future of urban environments


The reality is that cities of the future need to be designed for all: for citizens and businesses, for cars and pedestrians, and also wildlife. This transformation is already underway, with cultural parks brightening up major metropolises and al fresco dining becoming the new norm even in small towns. Bolt, with its range of mobility services spanning ride-sharing, food and grocery deliveries, and rentals of e-scooters and e-bikes in 500 cities in 45 countries worldwide, is actively reducing our reliance on private vehicles. The pressing question now: how can architects and urban planners make the most of the extra space if not taken up by cars? The ideas shown in Bolt’s ‘Feels like Home’ video are not mere fantasies, but perhaps a glimpse into the imminent future.


Cities need to be designed to be safer and enjoyable for all people. All kinds of shared mobility, including scooters, bikes and cars, are a realistic step in the right direction. Maybe one day we will look at Bolt’s video again and question why people actually had their own cars,’ concludes Hagar Abiri, architect and founder of HAA&D, to designboom.

urban architect reviews bolt's feels like home video that challenges car-centricity
scene five: a young female hops into a ride-hail to safely and quickly go for a nigh out in the city



video info:


brand: Bolt

video: Feels like Home

urban expert: Hagar Abiri

studio: HAA&D