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Photo: A prototype of Gita and Jeremy, a resident of the Crenshaw district of Los Angles. (Frances Anderton)

Can Gita, the cargo-carrying robot, make you walk more? 12 MIN, 13 SEC

A prototype of Gita and Jeremy, a resident of the Crenshaw district of Los Angles
Photo by Frances Anderton

Would you walk with your belongings in a ball rolling along behind you? Maybe, if it looks like Gita.

Gita is a kind of robotic suitcase on wheels. It’s being prototyped by Piaggio Fast Forward, a subdivision of Piaggio, the Italian company that dates back to 1884 -- and brought us the Vespa scooter.

Piaggio Fast Forward was founded to focus on fresh ideas for lightweight mobility. And its first big idea is an autonomous container on wheels that follows its owner.

The concept is to get people walking to the store or the farmers market instead of making these kinds of short trips in a car.

"We don't want to have a world like WALL-E where everybody's fat and lethargic and everything just comes to them the minute they think about it," says PFF chief creative officer Greg Lynn. "We would much rather have a city that's smart and intelligent with autonomy like this but that really puts people and their experience and lifestyle in the center of it."

DnA talks to Lynn, PFF COO Sasha Hoffman and some teenagers who tested Gita.

Gita will be featured among other alternatives to the private automobile, on show this weekend at the LA CoMotion Mobility Festival taking place in downtown’s Arts District.

Also on display will be SWITCH!, a Gensler-designed prototype of climbable streetlight-come-benches that are part of LADOT's "playstreets" initiative; the Transdev autonomous shuttle, as well as electric scooters, cutting-edge bicycles and other innovations that might hit our streets in the near future.

Festival senior advisor Ashley Z. Hand says the expo is taking place in the midst of a period of great change in transportation because "right now we have to set a vision for the future that we want because if we don't there's a real possibility things could go horribly wrong if we don't think about designing towards that future that we want."

Gregg Cawley, University of Wyoming
Sasha Hoffman, Piaggio Fast Forward (@sashaphoffman)
Ashley Z. Hand, LA CoMotion / CityFi (@azhandkc)

The Gita is your rolling robot porter
The cute robot that follows you around and schleps all your stuff
The creators of the Vespa are launching a new product
Piaggio introduces Gita personal cargo droid that follows you around
Why Piaggio built Gita, a cargo-carrying robot, to follow in your footsteps

Dirty Girl Construction's Joan Barton 15 MIN, 22 SEC

Joan Barton, founder and owner of Dirty Girl Construction, Inc.
Photo by Frances Anderton

If you've ever tried to build a house in Los Angeles, you'll know there can be lots of challenges: permits, unanticipated costs, struggles between builders, designers and the client.

But building sounds like smooth sailing when you talk to Joan Barton, contractor and owner of her own company, Dirty Girl Construction.

Barton, who came up with the saucy name because "I was always filthy," is one of very few women contractors in LA and specializes in boutique stores and high-end homes for clients in the entertainment industry and overseas.

DnA visited Barton in her firm's new offices in Inglewood and talked to her about how she transitioned to construction from a career in music; about blazing a path in a man's field; and about getting through the bureaucratic bottle jam at the city of Los Angeles in the midst of a construction boom as well as code changes relating to limiting mansionization and creating granny flats.

We also talked about the current firestorm: sexual harassment. What's the solution, we pondered: to publicly shame or to axe all men for all infractions, ranging from horrifying to creepy to over-exuberant flirting? And what can women do to protect themselves?

Joan Barton shares lessons in empowerment and forgiveness learned from life and work experience -- and tells the story of what happened when she fell for a male employee!

Joan Barton, Dirty Girl Construction (@DirtyGirlInc)

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