07 Apr

Metro areas reponsible for most of America’s population growth now

The US is an urban nation (as far as how people actually choose to live), even though its mythologies and politics often don’t reflect that as much as they need to.

Neat map:


“Nearly one in seven Americans lives in the metropolitan areas of the country’s three largest cities: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.”

(Via Metropolitan areas are now fueling virtually all of America’s population growth.)

17 Jun

Interesting essay on hyperdensity


Fascinating look at hyper density. Worth reading, and also interesting because I think this will become a huge think to think about as Broad Group Manufacturing’s impact on cheap and rapid skyscraper building will change our skylines over the next generation or so.

“Because hyperdensity — defined as density sufficient to support subways — contributes to the health, prosperity, and sustainability of cities, the densification of our built and social environments will to a large extent determine our strength as a nation. [1] Compared to most forms of human habitation, dense cities are the most efficient economic engines; they are the most environmentally sustainable and the most likely to encourage joyful and healthy lifestyles. So, how do we build delightful cities that make us more prosperous, ecological, fit and equitable? Here I wil lay out the factors that impede hyperdensity in our cities today, and the conditions necessary to create hyperdense environments in the future, including great design, responsible preservation and sound urban planning. “

(Via A Country of Cities: Building Hyperdensity and Civic Delight: Places: Design Observer.)

On a completely personal level, after living ‘in the country’ the first time I visited NYC, I was a bit floored that I spent more time in ‘greenspace’ and walking than I had in all the time in the country. Turns out you can create more common green space in hyper dense areas in some scenarios than in suburbia.

I’m fascinated by the idea of both rewilding, getting more parks and hiking, while living in an ultra dense area.

06 Jun

More on density’s effects on innovation

Per capita economic impacts and innovation impacts come from density:

“MIT researchers think they know why when you double a city’s population that its economic productivity goes up 130 percent. Not only does total productivity increase with increased population, but so does per-capita productivity.”

(Via Higher population density boosts interaction and per capita productivity if there is good transportation.)

Ideas rub up against each other in crowded spaces. So does money.

05 Jun

Shenzhen: a city that’s a factory (the importance of density)

Twitter user Kwasi sent me this link about Huagiangbei, the city/factory in China. What is interesting is this point about density here, which again goes back to my constant thesis of the city and increased density as a prime innovation centre:

“In the US when you need an electronics component the typical first step is to look it up on Digikey, find the closest match you can and have it shipped to you days later (or worse; it may need to come from China.) In Shenzhen you walk through Huaqiangbei and find exactly the part you need, talk to the people who make it, and carry it away with you for a fraction of the price. Is it any wonder why so much innovation is happening here?”

(Via Shenzhen is Like Living in a City-Sized TechShop – Hack Things – We help software people make hardware.)

I really think a lot of people, particularly ones who valorize an idealized rural living, are missing the fact that the massive populations and increased density being created are creating some serious innovation hot spots.

17 Apr

Microsoft building the city of the future

In this link via Brandon Rhodes on twitter, a hint of Bruce Sterling’s spimes and the internet of things here, in Microsoft’s networked campus.

“The software that he and his team built strings together thousands of building sensors that track things like heaters, air conditioners, fans, and lights – harvesting billions of data points per week. That data has given the team deep insights, enabled better diagnostics, and has allowed for far more intelligent decision making. A test run of the program in 13 Microsoft buildings has provided staggering results – not only has Microsoft saved energy and millions in maintenance and utility costs, but the company now is hyper-aware of the way its buildings perform.”

(Via 88 Acres.)