City planners are charged with designing cities for residents, from developing spaces for popular activities to balancing the needs of different constituencies. For planners in Chongqing, China, one of those constituencies are people absorbed in their smartphones, who have come into conflict with another group, often called human beings. So the city has done the obvious thing when two groups clash: you build special sidewalks to separate them from each other.

Whether funny or sad, it’s certainly a statement on where we are as a society. It’s thankfully the first of its kind, but I doubt it is the the last time we will see this urban “innovation.” Today, the smartphone-addict sidewalk is merely a space demarcated with white spray paint for bumbling humans who are so busy, they can’t find the time to look up and see where they are going.

But if we know anything about innovation, it is that it never stops at the spray-paint level of development, the urban-equivalent MVP if you will. Future iterations of this product will no doubt take the technology of its users into account and simply send notifications to let them know when they have moved too far outside the center of the sidewalk.

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