Urban Tech News Roundup

Shanghai Tower, the world's second tallest building

Shanghai Tower, the world's second tallest building

The Built Environment

  • The world's second tallest building is now open in Shanghai. The building also claims to be the world's tallest green skyscraper, featuring 200 wind turbines at the top of the building that supplies 10% of the building's power. The building collects rainwater and re-uses wastewater, has a combined cooling and heating power system and uses 40 other energy-saving measures that developers claim cut 34,000 metric tonnes from its annual carbon footprint. The building is wrapped in two layers of glass for natural cooling and ventilation, and in total developers say a third of the site is “green space”, including 24 sky gardens sitting between the two skins.
  • A 23 acre mixed use project is now underway in Dallas; these types of projects have proliferated around the US. Related: CIM Group is planning a 27-acre mini-city for downtown Atlanta. 
  • Architects are testing mass timber systems for highrise construction. Mass-timber advocates argue that the material is resistant to fire because it chars rather than burns, protecting and preserving the strength of the underlying layers. This results in the retention of up to 90% of the wood's original strength and also gives occupants time to evacuate in case of a fire.
  • Micro-hospitals are becoming more common. Occupancy rates for hospitals have been trending at around 60% for large hospitals. 
  • A smart city tech campus planned for Greenville, SC. 
  • How the GOP tax overhaul could affect the construction industry. 

Urban Issues 

  • A new interactive map shows how the amount of household debt varies around the country. Unsurprisingly, debt is much higher where more people lack health insurance. 
  • When leaders intentionally target urban areas with policy, they are undermining the broader economy as well. 
  • How to fix NYC's traffic problems.
  • Four predictions for the future of work, by the CEO of freelancing website Upwork. 
  • How place and geography shape political views. 
  • One small Appalachian city is thriving. Roanake, Virginia is a rare case of small-town success. The city started this transportation by adding housing to its downtown area, converting vacant buildings and establishing a thriving urban core to the city.
  • How redlining segregated the city of Philadelphia and starved non-white neighborhoods of investment. 
  • How tech is changing the tenant-landlord relationship. 

Renewable Energy

  • Engineers are piloting onsite 3D printing of wind turbines onsite to allow for higher turbines. Currently, turbines are hampered by the need to be transported on roadways, which limits their height. 
  • GOP Tax Bill could potentially cripple the fast-growing renewable energy sector, 
  • Solar energy is booming in Minnesota as farmers thanks to one of the nation's first "solar garden programs," which allow community groups, local governments, schools, church congregations, individuals, and businesses share the profits and costs by purchasing subscriptions to projects that generate solar power. 
  • How utility companies are coping with 100% renewable energy goals. 

Learn more about how Dreamit works with startups that are transforming the built environment. 

Charles LaCalleurbantech