The Mobile Zebra Crossing

Black carpet measuring 30 x 4 metres, street marking paint
19th May 1993


How can pedestrians legally cross a street wherever they want to, and not at the whim of traffic planners? Thanks to Gerhard Lang‘s mobile zebra, a 600-person procession through the streets, alleys, backyards and car parks of Kassel was able to cross streets without jaywalking. The procession organized by Helmut Aebischer, Ruth Jureczek and Gerhard Lang honoured Lang’s friend, collaborator and former professor, Lucius Burckhardt (1925-2003), the inventor of the field of Spaziergangswissenschaft (Promenadology or Strollology) at the University of Kassel. Burckhardt adopted the perspective of the stroller in formulating his criticisms of prevailing automobile-centric planning practices (Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, 2008)


Lucius Burckhardt’s response to the mobile zebra crossing: “Moving once more through the city, as was presumably possible in the old days: you cross the street, there where you want to and where you can cut short your route, and not just where traffic planners had a zebra crossing painted because they thought this was where you would be the least nuisance for cars. [...] Pedestrians can avoid being arrested for jaywalking simply by bringing along their own zebra crossing.“

[From: das Zebra streifen (Zebra Crossing), with texts by Lucius Burckhardt, Gerhard Lang and others, ed. by Helmut Aebischer, Kassel University, Department for the Study of Town Planning and Landscape Planning, Volume 20, Kassel, 1994]

Ill. I: Thanks to the mobile zebra crossing the strollers managed to cross Kurt-Schumacher-Straße without harm. Photo: Angela Siever
Ill. II: Cover (detail) of the publication das Zebra streifen (Zebra Crossing). Wandering across Helmut Aebischer’s design is Gerhard Lang's green logo for the walk, at that time also available as a badge. Photo: Gerhard Lang





Gerhard Lang © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn