Jurassic Park: The Ride
James Hanis, currently a design manager at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando, Florida, has built up a strong career in project management, urban design, and architecture. His previous experience in theme park design includes service as senior architect and administrative construction manager of Universal Studios’ Jurassic Park River Adventure attraction at the park’s Islands of Adventure. James Hanis oversaw work on that project that encompassed more than one dozen structures and a river ride experience.
Work on the first Jurassic Park ride commenced in 1992, the same year filming began on the feature film of the same name. In fact, the construction of the ride started even before production on the film. Both were based on the popular novel by Michael Crichton about a scientist who discovers a way to bring dinosaurs back to life through genetic manipulation.
Jurassic Park: The Ride debuted in 1996 at Universal Studios Hollywood, while Jurassic Park River Adventure opened three years later. At the time, the enormous dinosaur figures created for the Jurassic Park ride were the largest-scale animated characters ever made for an attraction in any genre.
The Jurassic Park River Adventure ride features a river transportation system that moves visitors from one lush jungle lagoon setting to another, through 22 acres of space that includes restaurants and shopping experiences.
Presently based in Orlando, Florida, Walt Disney Imagineering design manager James Hanis has decades of experience overseeing diverse projects ranging from municipal infrastructure to single-family homes. Among other areas, James Hanis maintains a strong interest in urban design and planning, as well as landmark preservation projects.
A recent Economist special report, “The New Autopia: A Chance to Transform Urban Planning,” examined the potential for autonomous vehicles to transform cities that until now have been planned around the inflexible requirements of freeways and parking. With the expectation that people should have the ability to drive anywhere firmly part of the contemporary planning mindset, cities have been built to accommodate suburban sprawl that takes up large amounts of land and discourages public transportation use.
One possible avenue for solving this design problem is through autonomous vehicles, which offer the possibility of increased occupancy rates in low-cost robotaxis that can map out passenger supply and demand in real time. With commutes increasingly requiring travel from suburb to suburb, the use of these vehicles, which would be constantly in transit or stored in centralized hubs, would significantly cut down on the parking space needs that take up excessive land and real estate.
Some urban planners suggest that an efficient system of autonomous vehicles would allow for garages and parking lots to be repurposed for green and sustainable uses or pedestrian-friendly retail and cultural hubs. As the Economist describes it, urban streets could become spaces in which people and vehicles are once again equals.