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Trends / Future

Future cities and context

  Future Cities – 44-min discussion on BBC’s The Forum about new cities in the coming decades, especially in developing countries, and what features would make them more livable and vibrant for the largest number of people. If you’re involved in the design of cities, if you live in a growing city, …

1939 vision of the future

      The World of Tomorrow in 1939 – post on Design Observer about the 1939 New York World’s Fair, a dazzling display of optimism and innovation 75 years ago with the theme ‘Building the World of Tomorrow’. For a nation just coming out of the Great Depression and …

Super-light materials / Ideas at Davos

    Hierarchical Design & Solar Panels: A World Economic Forum Discussion –  in this 3-min video clip Caltech materials scientist Julia Greer explains how hierarchical design can help create very light-weight materials – “up to 99% air, but that yet retain the high stiffness and high strength of their …

Why our future depends on libraries, reading, and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming – an impassioned and thought-provoking argument for the value to society of reading, libraries, librarians, and how the daydreaming that reading can stimulate leads to imagining a better future and the innovation that our social and economic well-being depends …

Water strategy – what New Orleans can learn from Holland

How the Dutch are Helping New Orleans Stay Dry – excellent 8-min audio interview with New Orleans architect David Waggonner and Netherlands Honorary Consul General Connie Willems about water management and flood mitigation in New Orleans and in the Netherlands.  Even with substantial differences between the two locations – the amount …

NYC’s Urban Green on building resiliency

  18 building resiliency proposals at city council – New York’s Urban Green Council, a chapter of USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council), has recently released their Building Resiliency Task Force Report.  It consists of 18 post-Hurricane Sandy proposals for “making New York buildings and residents safer and better prepared for …

Big data, technology, and the management of urban space

  How Will Smart Cities Transform the Future? – post about Cisco Systems Smart+Connected Communities initiative.  It combines data, technology, city services, and infrastructure into a network they say offers unprecedented opportunities (a “potential value of $14.4 trillion over the next decade“) for economic, social, and environmental sustainability.   This is …

‘Lectorial’ classrooms for better learning

    “Lectorial” rooms: shifting the emphasis to active student-centred learning – post about recent research at Australian RMIT University, the final report of the Lectorial Project (65-p PDF report). The study looked at   custom designed “Lectorial” rooms that have been especially designed for the teach-discuss-share model to encourage the students …

Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America is launching on April 18-19 in Boston.  This huge and long-awaited project is a cooperative non-profit venture undertaken by libraries, museums and other institutions from across the country, aggregating access to digitized content and making it all easily searchable and accessible.  Their Elements page …

eVolo skyscraper competition winners

    In pictures: eVolo’s madcap skyscraper competition winners – post on gizmag  has 27 images of the winners and runners up of eVolo Magazine’s annual design competition. Novelty, be it technical or aesthetic, is the order of the day, and while one shouldn’t expect to see any of these …

World cities – where’s the growth?

            The world’s economic center of gravity shifts – a post in McKinsey Quarterly’s Chart Focus newsletter about … 440 largely obscure urban areas that will account for close to 50 percent of expected global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025 McKinsey Quarterly has a …

High growth African cities

    African cities with high growth potential – about recent release of MasterCard’s African cities growth index.  The index covers sub-Saharan cities. According to the the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the urban population of Africa is expected to triple by 2050 to 1.23 billion (from 395 million in …

Visualizing future trends

Take a peek at the next 150 years – post on Urban Times about predictions of our future.   One of the featured infographics is from BBC Future called Tomorrow’s World, looking at computing and robotics, politics and business, science and nature, society, and technology it puts them all on a …

Renewable energy – atlas & report

IRENA – Global Atlas for Solar & Wind – from the International Renewable Agency, an atlas showing potential for renewable energy around the world with supporting data.  Image shown here is Concentrated Solar (DNI), Multiple countries 40 km by NREL.  Via CleanTechnia   Delivering On Renewable Energy Around The World: How …

Asia outlook from The Economist / Biotech in China

    Selected quotes from The Economist’s latest survey of company executives (mostly from North America and Europe) about their outlook for doing business in Asia, Investing in an accelerating Asia? (37-p PDF). After a slowdown in 2012, executives expect better things in 2013 Companies are expecting their sales to grow twice …

Wind+solar+storage = full grid power by 2030

  Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid – Recent research from the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College says this can be done by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s.  The study drew on data from 13 states, about one fifth …

The Importance of Soil and Its Conservation

The Importance of Soil and Its Conservation [Video] – this 5+ min video is packed with statistics about soil and how we use and thoughtlessly misuse this most valuable of resources.  See more at Global Soil Forum, a European partnership that recently sponsored the first Global Soils Week.  The Global Soil …