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.”
Design, art, and technology are intertwined in this new product co-developed by wallcovering company Flavor Paper and design firm UM Project. Conduct, an interactive installation at Collective Design, which is part of New York’s design festival NYCXDesign, is a wallpaper that doubles as a power source. As Fast Co.Design reported, the installation is composed of five motorized or electrical objects. If a person touches one of the copper dots on the wall, which is covered with paper that’s printed with conductive ink, they complete an electrical circuit and turn on the object.
Image of Uber’s self-driving vehicle via Nathan Ingraham for Engadget
While Uber plans to roll out flying taxis in NYC within five years, the ride-hailing company, in addition to many similar companies, hopes to make driverless cars next on their list of proposals. As reported by Crain’s, shared driverless vehicles could account for a quarter of all miles driven in the U.S. by 2030. Since the cars would be shared, driverless and electric, the low-cost would allow many people to give up their personal cars, especially in densely populated cities. New Yorkers own fewer vehicles than residents in any other U.S. city, making it the biggest market for ride-hail services as well as the perfect guinea pig for companies to test driverless vehicles.
The sky is the limit for the popular ride-hailing app, Uber. The company announced Tuesday that it intends to roll out a network of flying cars, or VTOLs (aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing) beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020. And as reported by the NY Post, one of Uber’s partners, Blade helicopter service, aims to make New York City a target for its plan within five years. If so, these vehicles, which travel at 200 mph, could take passengers from Manhattan to JFK Airport in as little as five minutes.
For most modern New Yorkers, it’s hard to imagine the city being anything more than a crowded, noisy, concrete jungle. However, with the website Unsung.NYC, users can now explore the natural sounds of Manhattan, present during the 1600s before European settlers arrived. As the Times reports, “Calling Thunder” lets listeners hear all the chirps, croaks, and laps of waves, all of which coincide with images from four main points in Manhattan—the Collect Pond Park, the High Line, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Inwood Hill Park.
Thanks to Growkit, a farming kit for beginners developed by Portugal-based startup Noocity, city dwellers short on time and space can still take a stab at gardening and harvest their own organic food (h/t Gearminded). The kit includes an entire gardening system–a Growbag irrigated planter, a Growpack with seasonal plants, potting soil, fertilizer, and step-by-step audio instructions–all delivered right to your doorstep.
As part of its relaunch, Google Earth, a program that allows users to explore the planet virtually, now features guided tours of projects by various architects, like Frank Gehry and the late Zaha Hadid. As ArchDaily learned, the relaunch allows users to orbit the entire globe in 3D, instead of simply exploring isolated cities. It also enhanced the web application’s accessibility, with searches within the app providing snapshots of information about the places. Plus, using the app is free of charge and users do not have to pay or install any software.
Interior designers who have been looking for a way to streamline their creative and production processes will appreciate Morpholio‘s newest app feature, AVA. Short for Automated Visual Assembly, AVA makes it easier for users to create not just presentation boards but also to produce cut sheets and specs for drawings, and product lists for purchasing. As professional designers know, projects are imbued with many moving parts that are difficult to manage piecemeal. AVA puts all of these pieces in one program, allowing designers to do everything they need within one application, reducing the opportunity for error. Plus, it’s presentation ready, meaning there’s no need to spend hours laying out images and assembling the details for client review.
Future New Yorkers may travel between cities faster than ever before. Hyperloop One–the California-based tech company whose transportation concept was first proposed by Elon Musk– revealed its plan for a high-speed tube that could take passengers from NYC to D.C. in just 20 minutes, reports NBC New York (by comparison, Amtrak’s Acela Express currently takes a little more than three hours). Travelers would board magnetically levitating pods that move by electric propulsion and travel at more than 700 miles per hour. This would connect 80 percent of the country, making a cross-country trip just about five hours long. According to the company, nearly 83 million people would benefit from this hyperloop between our nation’s capital and the Big Apple.
Image courtesy Murphy Burnham and Buttrick Architects
Nearly two years ago, St. Patrick’s Cathedral removed the scaffolding that had been shrouding its neo-Gothic facade to reveal a restored landmark. The work was part of a larger four-year $177 million restoration and conservation that’s also included an interior overhaul, renovation of the garden, and a new heating and cooling system. This last component is also now complete, as The Architect’s Newspaper reports that the Cathedral has activated their new, state-of-the-art geothermal plant, just in time to warm things up for St. Patrick’s Day. The system will cut the building’s energy consumption by more than 30 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 94,000 kilograms.
While many of us living in New York City search for months before finding that perfect apartment, there’s now a way to get a brand new home built in under 24 hours. As reported by engadget, the San Francisco-based startup Apis Cor used a mobile 3D-printer to print out the concrete walls, partitions, and building envelope for a 400 square-foot-home in just less than a day, all for the pretty reasonable price of $10,314 (not including the property, of course). And while NYC doesn’t have much open space for free-standing homes, the technology could potentially be used for various residential components or tiny home configurations.
The Times may have recently questioned whether or not the Metropolitan Museum of Art is “a great institution in decline” (referring to its $40 million deficit and decision to put on hold its $600 million expansion), but the paper is much more positive when reporting on the Met’s new Open Access policy. This allows free and unrestricted use of 375,000 high-resolution images of artworks in their collection, ranging from paintings by Van Gogh, El Greco and DeGas to ancient Egyptian relics to classical furniture and clothing.
City Water Tunnel No. 3, one of the largest capital projects in the city’s history; Images: NYC DEP
Mayor Bill de Blasio will officially announce Tuesday that $300 million will be allocated toward the completion of the city’s third water tunnel (known as Water Tunnel No. 3) which will bring drinking water from upstate to the city’s taps. The mayor’s announcement backs up assurances he made in April that the tunnel will be ready for activation in an emergency by the end of this year, and fully operational by 2025, Politico reports. The allocation, along with an additional $3 million to disinfect the Brooklyn/Queens section of the tunnel, is part of the city’s 10-year capital plan and will speed up the timeline for completion of the project.
As the U.S. goes collectively nuts over the possibility of alleged Russian hacking and its effects on the election, the Washington Post tells of at least one cybersecurity expert devoted to exposing the very real threat of cyberattack by “an insidious bushy-tailed foe.” We’re reminded that in 1987, a squirrel nibbled Nasdaq’s computer center (literally) into the black for 90 minutes, upending 20 million trades.