The tunnel-digging machine; photo via The Boring Company
The Boring Company, led by Elon Musk, received a building permit this week from the Washington, D.C. government, potentially jumpstarting the tech entrepreneur’s plan to bring a high-speed tube system between New York City and D.C. Although Musk said last summer he received “verbal” approval from officials, the new, written permit allows preparatory and excavation work to begin on a parking lot on New York Avenue in D.C., the Washington Post reported. The Hyperloop One would be able to take passengers from NYC to D.C., with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore, in just 29 minutes via a tube moved by electric propulsion.
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Photo via Pexels
Snapchat on Monday announced that its “Snap Map,” a feature which allows users to view posts from around the world, will be available on the web, giving those without the social media app a chance to check out events happening near them. In addition to now existing outside of the Snapchat app, the browser version of the map lets snappers embed content from the map onto web pages, much like how Twitter or Instagram permits (h/t WIRED). Hot spots on the map, areas with lots of posts, glow green or blue; heavy traffic locations light up red and orange. Today in New York users are filling up “Our Story” with posts from New York Fashion Week, the September 11th Memorial, and the Empire State Building. More here
A jet snow thrower in action via MTA’s Flickr
No matter how Winter Storm Grayson is labeled by weather professionals–a bomb cyclone, bombogenesis or a winter hurricane–the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is more than ready to clear subways, buses and commuter railways of snow. The MTA maintains a fleet of super-powered snow throwers, jet-powered snow blowers and specially designed de-icing cars to tackle the icy mess. For this week’s storm, there will be 500 track switch heaters, 600,000 pounds of calcium chloride and 200,000 pounds of sand to melt snow and ice at subway stations.
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Image via Wikimedia Commons.
If you’ve ever found yourself lost in a maze of corridors or trampled in a boarding stampede at Penn Station, help may have arrived in the form of yet another useful mobile app. Beginning this week, Amtrak will offer a free app, FindYourWay, that helps travelers–65,000 of whom pass through the station each day–find their way through the station and avoid the crush of crowds that form around electronic boards announcing train departures, the New York Times reports.
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Koppert Cress, a farm in the Netherlands that uses low-energy magenta LED lamps in its greenhouses. Photo credit: Pieternel van Velden, courtesy of Guggenheim Museum.
World renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, known for being both innovative and committed to urban living, has turned his eye toward a new frontier–literally. The focus of the peripatetic starchitect’s upcoming 2019 exhibition, titled “Countryside: Future of the World,” to be installed in the spiral rotunda at the Guggenheim Museum, will be the world’s rural landscapes and how they have been altered by technology, migration and climate change. According to the New York Times, Koolhaas asks us to consider the countryside–that is, “anything but the city,” for reasons of architecture, culture–and politics, in light of events like Brexit and President Trump’s election.
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The growing population of homeless New Yorkers is sending creative agency Framlab up a wall–literally. The Oslo- and New York City-based agency has proposed a way to provide shelter for the city’s homeless in an arrangement of 3D-printed micro-neighborhoods comprised of hexagonal modules designed to attach to a scaffold structure, creating a second layer of properties, basically, alongside a building’s empty wall (h/t designboom). In the project, called “Homed,” the modular pods can be clustered together, creating a “cellular mosaic” with their fronts facing the street.
Way better than giant ads
Image via WNYC
Not only would the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new electronic fare payment system make commuting more efficient, it might also save money for low-income straphangers. According to amNY, advocates and experts say the new “contactless” technology could make the system more equitable through a policy called fare capping: riders pay per ride until the daily or weekly capping rates are reached, with every ride being free after that.
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A recently-released rendering of what Uber’s flying taxi, to begin testing in 2020, might look like. (Credit: Uber Technologies via AM New York).
6sqft reported recently on testing of the CityAirbus self-piloted flying taxi by Airbus. There’s already competition ahead, it seems: Uber reported Wednesday that the company is joining the U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) in the development of software for managing flying taxi routes–essentially “flying Ubers.” In what represents the first formal services contract by NASA dealing with low-altitude airspace, Uber plans to begin testing proposed four-passenger, 200-miles-per-hour flying taxi services in Dallas/Fort Worth, with more testing planned for Los Angeles in 2020 in advance of the 2028 Olympics.
So when can I call one?
The new owners of the massive East Village residential complex now known as StuyTown plan to spend over $10 million to install 10,000 solar panels on 56 buildings in the complex, the Wall Street Journal reports. Blackstone Group and Canadian investment firm Ivanhoé Cambridge bought the storied complex for $5.3 billion in October 2015. As 6sqft previously reported, the solar investment is part of an effort by Blackstone, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, to generate energy cost savings in its global commercial real estate portfolio. The panels will provide enough power for about 1,000 apartments each year–about nine percent of the units in the 80-acre complex–which Blackstone says will triple Manhattan’s solar power generating capacity and make it the largest private multifamily solar installation in the U.S.
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A self-driving vehicle, photo via GM
General Motors will bring a fleet of self-driving cars to a 5-square-mile section of lower Manhattan early next year, becoming the first company to deploy autonomous cars in New York City. As the Wall Street Journal learned, in partnership with driverless-car developer Cruise Automation, GM’s testing will include an engineer in the driver’s seat to monitor the performance and a second person in the passenger seat. In May, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state began accepting applications from companies interested in autonomous technologies in New York. GM and Cruise’s planned testing will become the first time Level 4 autonomous vehicles will be tested in NYC, getting a head start on making the Big Apple a hub for self-driving cars.
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