100 years ago, likely objects in the average traveller's backpack: change of clothes, perhaps some writing materials + lunch. Skip forward to 2015: many of us carry laptops, tablets, phones as well as the old stuff. Looking at UK commuters, they carry on average £1000 technology to work every day which in turn accesses even more valuable data: financial, personal + work information.
As well as the value of our belongings, something else has increased: populations in cities in which we commute, live + holiday. Get on any subway or metro train at peak time and it's normal to be sardined in with our fellow travellers. You're not just imagining it! The number of cities with over one million people on the planet in 1800 was 2 and 1900 was 17. By 1950 this increased to 86 cities and in 2000 rose to 387 cities with a population of over one million people. The average size of the world's 100 largest cities in the same time increased from 187,000 in 1800 to 6.3 million in 2000.*
What's this got to do with backpacks and RiutBags? We - us, you, me. We are the people currently living, moving around in + travelling inside these cities. We make up those giant populations! I think our increased populations, higher density living + valuable belongings cause us stress + concern whilst travelling. It's a rare treat to travel around a city with nothing but the clothes you're wearing. Nothing of value or importance on you.
Given we travel with belongings in general, especially for work, this is my aim: through simple design changes, we can adapt to our urban environment. Feeling secure with our valuable belongings + increased population density is part of that. If we feel secure, I believe we can use the time we travel + commute to think more, be more creative or simply to relax. I believe we are more likely to interact positively with the thousands or millions of strangers with whom we travel, if we feel secure.
This is the reason I felt compelled to make the RiutBag now in 2015: for your sense of wellbeing whilst travelling + for mine. What would our cities be like if we all felt secure + reduced our suspicion of our fellow travellers?
**Population figures: David Satterthwaite, "The scale of urban change worldwide 1950-2000 and its underpinnings" http://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/events-documents/1125.pdf