In a tweet around 11:00am Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he “just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop.” The Hyperloop One plan will take passengers from NYC to D.C. in a mere 29 minutes via a high-speed tube moved by electric propulsion, with stations at each city center and “up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city,” according to Musk. In a response to a comment on his initial tweet, he said: “First set of tunnels are to alleviate greater LA urban congestion. Will start NY-DC in parallel. Then prob LA-SF and a TX loop.”
Statue of Frederick Douglass can be found at Central Park North and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, via NYC Parks
If statues could talk, what would they say? Thanks to a new project called New York Talking Statues, you will now be able to find out. Beginning tomorrow, July 12, New Yorkers will be able to listen to the voices of 35 statues across the city through a smartphone app (h/t Untapped Cities). Users will be able to scan the QR code found on a sign next to each statue or type in the web address into the web browser. The team behind the project chose the statues by looking at their historical significance to the city, especially those with a special tie to immigrant communities as well as artists who have contributed directly to the city.
UK-based technology company Pavegen built a sidewalk in London made up of kinetic pavement that turns pedestrians’ footsteps into energy. The 107-square-foot display on “Bird Street” harnesses and converts the power of footsteps into electricity that supplies energy for lights and bird sounds (h/t inhabitat). Walkers can connect via Bluetooth to an app on their phones to see how many joules of energy they’ve generated. Plus, the company partnered with local businesses that then will reward users with discounts and vouchers for their footsteps.
With NYC residents owning fewer personal vehicles than any other city in the U.S., it’s no surprise that it may soon become a major hub for autonomous transportation. To ensure the future efficiency of driverless vehicles in such a densely populated area, Blank Space and the City of New York created a Driverless Future Challenge to solicit visions for the future of autonomous transit. According to Archinect, participants from over 25 countries sent proposals, which have now been narrowed down to four finalists. Their ideas include a plug-and-play public square, curbside pickup system, a rideshare platform for the outer boroughs, and a local food delivery service.
Image courtesy of the United States Patent Office
The massive online retailer company Amazon, which recently acquired the grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion, is attempting to push even further into the future of internet commerce. The company has recently patented a “multi-level fulfillment center for unmanned vehicles,” or in simpler terms, a drone skyscraper. As co.design discovered, while patents do not necessarily mean this tower will be created, the plan has detailed sketches showing a giant beehive from where drones would fly in and out.
In May 2015, New York City’s Department of Transportation began an initiative to replace roughly 250,000 old streetlights with new LED fixtures in all five boroughs. The city chose to switch over to energy-efficient lights to save money and time; the lights last 15 years and require less maintenance. Following hundreds of complaints from residents about the harshness of the lights, the city had to then replace these new lights with dimmer bulbs. Now, the American Medical Association (AMA) warns of the potential harmful human health and environmental effects of LED lights, including damage to one’s eyesight and disruption in sleep patterns. As CNN reports, the AMA has released guidelines for communities to follow when choosing LED streetlights.
As more and more people move to the Big Apple, the city is running out of room to house all of them. According to Mark Ginsberg of Curtis & Ginsberg Architects, even if the city were developed to the maximum capacity legally allowed, this would still only be enough room to house 9.5 million New Yorkers. Building up every square foot that has been zoned for development is impossible and the city’s population is projected to pass 9 million by 2040. At a real estate conference hosted by Crain’s last week architects from five different firms laid out their plan to serve the city’s swelling population and each focused on a specific borough.
Beginning this fall, a research project led by a neuroeconomic professor from New York University will follow 10,000 New Yorkers for two decades in hopes of understanding the future of big data and human decision making. The Human Project, developed by Paul Glimcher, will gather a ton of data from residents, including medical records, diet, credit card transactions, social interactions, sleep, educational achievement, blood work, stool and urine samples and even more. As the New York Times reported, the goal is to create an atlas of the entire human experience. With a $15 million budget, the project hopes to start making some findings by 2020.
As a tribute to New York City, Breather, a company with rentable workplaces worldwide, developed a website that lets you listen to the sounds of different city neighborhoods and iconic Big Apple locations. Called Sounds of New York, ambient noises play in the background to help workers concentrate on their daily tasks. Enhance your productivity by listening to the atmospheric sounds of the Strand bookstore, McSorley’s Ale House, Zabar’s, the Comedy Cellar, the Oculus, or Harlem’s Apollo Theater all from the comfort of your office.
The growing need to build affordable housing in big, dense cities while keeping expenses to a minimum led to Malaysian designer Haseef Rafiei’s idea for a futuristic “skyscraper” housing pod vending machine. A Dezeen video shows how the designer–he won an honorable mention in this year’s eVolo Skyscraper Competition–inspired by the fascination with vending machines and robotics in Japan, sketched up the skyscraper idea for offering prospective homeowners a way to customize–and then create–a modular home. The home would then be slotted into place within a high-rise framework. According to the designer, the Pod Vending Machine is based on a “3D-printed building that grows in parallel with the city’s housing demand.”