Jason Eppink's Catalogue of Creative Triumphs

In New York City, especially in the outer boroughs, landlords often fail to salt or shovel the snow off their sidewalk after a snow fall. As a result, frequent traffic and daytime warmth pack the snow into dangerous ice.

Legally the onus to clear the sidewalk is on the landlord, but really, shouldn’t the pedestrians who use the sidewalk be responsible for it? Maybe there’s a distributed, casual way to solve this problem. A lot of kinetic energy goes into compressing the snow under each step that could instead be harnessed to move or melt it.

Here are a few sketches. They all have flaws, but perhaps they can inspire better ideas. The design requirements were that the solution be casual (nobody wants to spend more energy on their morning commute), comfortable, affordable (rich people don’t walk), and sustainable.

These sketches were inspired by the Johnny Apple Sandal, a sandal with “phytoremediating” plant seeds built into the sole, which are slowly deposited as the sandal wears away.

Prior Art

Heated Shoe
A shoe with a rechargeable battery and a heater built into the sole, which melts snow upon contact (and keeps your foot warm in the process).
  • Can it melt any snow in that short time of contact?
  • If so, can the melted snow stay liquid long enough to flow off the sidewalk or will it immediately refreeze into ice?
  • Can it be safe?

Available in the following departments: Concepts, Doodles, Ponderings