What’s lighter than air, soars through the sky, and stands to save our suburbs by breaking the shackles of car culture? The answer is Airbia, an incredible fleet of high-flying airships that aims to create an efficient and eco-friendly alternative to smog-choked suburban commutes. Designed by Alexandros Tsolakis and Irene Shamma, the airship infrastructure system ferries passengers quickly and easily from their suburban homes to urban city centers, and we imagine that gliding through the clouds at the break of dawn each day would make for a heck of a morning commute.

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Today most suburban commutes involve long hours spent sitting in smog-choked traffic behind endless miles of idling cars. Add to that the costs of maintaining road infrastructure amid the ever increasing sprawl of suburbia and you’ve got a murky environmental quandary on your hands.

Tsolakis and Shamma’s Airbia stands to change all that by offering commuters the opportunity to sail through their morning commute aboard a system of high-flying eco-friendly airships. The sleek fleet of dirigibles use helium to hover and require only a limited amount of infrastructure (just overhead loading platforms). Each one is capable of carrying 400 people and travels at an average speed of 93 mph at heights between 100 to 1,640 feet above the earth.

The Airbia system will cover a set of nodes scattered throughout the suburbs, creating connections to the edge of the city on all sides. Tsolakis and Shamma say that “This network would potentially replace the use of cars and trains as transportation between the suburbs and the city centers.” Each node consists of just staircases, lifts, and ticket spaces, which makes the system is extremely flexible – pick up an drop off locations can be easily placed almost anywhere in the city.

Airbia is one of 20 incredible finalists in our ReBurbia competition to redesign our suburbs – be sure to check out the other inspired finalists and vote for your favorite!

+ Airbia

+ Re-Burbia Competition