Want to buy a car and split it with your friends? You should take a look at OwnMutually. The upcoming Australian based startup will let users list the item they want to purchase to their social networks, and then enlist friends to split the cost. The fractional ownership model is a win/win for everyone involved and unlike similar sites, OwnMutually taps the power of your social networks to get the purchase rolling quickly. Be on the lookout for an April launch!
Producing food in urban centers is becoming ever more important as we try to decrease carbon emissions and improve food security. The new Sky Greens vertical farm in Singapore is the worlds first low-water, low-energy urban food production space. The urban farm will produce 500 kg of vegetables per day as the project breathes new hope into the global urban food revolution.
How do you solve for noise pollution, poor air quality, high city temperatures and general city beauty all in one? In Mexico City you build five vertical gardens. Verdmx and Nissan Mexicana teamed up to do just that and the results are beautiful as you can see in the video above. Hopefully ideas like this can continue to evolve and expand to other cities.
What do you when you want to build a contemporary art museum but realize it will take three years to build? You build a mobile library that doubles as a space for lectures, seminars and workshops. That’s exactly what non-profit Alumnos47 and architecture firm PRODUCTORA did when they came up with The Book Truck, Mexico City’s mobile art library. The Book Truck is a converted M2 20K truck which holds up to 1500 books on visual art and culture. Its slick design allows for the space to change from a standard library to a place where cultural events and workshops take place as the books are stacked on overhead space. So far the truck has been a major success and if the success continues maybe a Book Truck will be coming to a city near you.
The latest civic engagment app to make a splash is from the Columbian not-for-profit Fundacion Telefonica. Fundacion Telefonica hopes the app will reduce child labor by enabling citizens to quickly take a photo of under age workers and geo-tag their location. The information is sent to a database so Fundacion Telefonica can act on the results. Pretty impressive, if we as citizens can demonstrate that we will actually use such apps, the potential to solve social issues, or at least begin reporting them more precisely is limitless.
At Philadelphias 8th street station a smart grid dream concept is becoming reality. There, as trains approach the station and break, the kinetic energy will be transported to the power grid and used as local electricity. This is the first time a technology of this kind will be used in a major urban center and could pave the way for similar technologies such as capturing the kinetic energy of citizens as they walk in busy city centers like time square. So next time you’re waiting for the train and it begins to break, just think, it could very well be powering your home. Awesome job Philadelphia! Let’s hope it’s a success.
Paris based Design Urbain is intent on re-imagining the bus station by using clever design to increase public transportation. In an era in which we have managed to make train stations and airports pleasant hubs of transportation, it is time for the bus station to evolve. The experimental Station Diderot takes into account all the activities and wishes of the modern urbanite. People can charge their phones, purchase a coffee, listen to music, or borrow a book, and even rent a bike should that bus be running late. From a monetary standpoint this may seem like a heavy investment for a bus station, but perhaps that investment could be outweighed by corporate sponsorships like the Barclays bike share sponsorship in London. To take it a step further, maybe bus stations could attract those sponsorships by partnering with city bike shares, forming a new type of busstation/bikeshare hybrid. At the very least, Station Diderot makes taking the bus in the morning much more appealing.
In Colombia, the “Mini Library” is taking root. Initiated by non-profit Fundalectura in a test to fight illiteracy, 150 mini libraries decorate parks around the country. 51 in the capital Bogota alone. Each one is open to the public and school children are encouraged to visit after school for help with homework. For up to 12 hours a week volunteer librarians tend to the mini spaces which hold about 350 books each. As e-books become more popular and the state of the library changes this could be a novel approach in keeping libraries relevant. Imagine walking through New York, Barcelona or Paris and stopping for a couple minutes at a local Mini-Library. Besides combatting illiteracy these new libraries can help add beautiful design and the chance to read a book and learn something new to any park or city. Let’s hope Fundalectura and others can make that vision come true.
Here’s a snippet of a great article in Fast Company. Click above to read more.
“Companies need to start thinking about the holistic experience between their brands, products, and services. Crafting an experience requires design that considers these three elements of brand, product, and service in order to generate successful results. Any company can be analyzed through these lenses to evaluate the experience it creates for its customers.” (Reuben Steiger)
With smarthphones, the internet and the advent of streaming, the alarm clock is continually being re-invented and rethought. UNIQLO is the lastest company to re-think how we should be woken up with an impressive alarm clock that changes its tunes based on the weather. If the day is cloudy the user receives cloudy day music and if the day is sunny the user receives sunny day music in hope of getting the user ready for the day ahead. Another start-up Songza.com has received much attention lately for their concierge app that allows users to choose a mood and receive playlists based on their mood. As the way we engage with music continues to evolve, it seems like matching music with our moods, as oppose to choosing what we want to listen to, is slowly becoming the norm. At least for now.
One of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, the Estadio Maracana, in Rio de Janeiro, is going solar. Over 1500 photovoltaic panels will be installed on it’s roof by Yingli Solar and as Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup, they have affectively made a statement to the world. Solar is here, it is affordable, it is sensible, and it is efficient. Most importantly, we believe in it so much that we are putting the dollars down to install it in the building that will host the finals of the 2014 World Cup. Solar energy is no longer an economic question or environmentalist pipe-dream. It is a sensible business maneuver that is slowly powering the world.
Ideas around crowdfunding and customer participation continue to evolve and LOYAL3 is forging the next step in that evolution. First, customers can buy stock in a company with three clicks without leaving Facebook. They can also invest as little as $10. LOYAL3 believes investment through Facebook means more “investors”, which in this case will become more loyal customers who are incentivized to talk about the brand through their social networks due to their ownership stake. Consumption continues to become increasingly inclusive and participatory. The success or failure of LOYAL3 will be a good barometer as to whether this is in fact part of our new economy, as oppose to a passing fad. My gut say’s it is.
I-Go, a Chicago based car sharing service is placing solar charging stations that will exclusively power electric vehicles in seven different areas of Chicago. This will save I-Go members 17,000 gallons of gasoline a year. Car sharing enables collaborative transportation and reduces a cities carbon footprint, combining this with solar powered electric charging stations effectively creates a nearly carbon-neutral impact for all members of I-Go. Great idea and great to see it going into action.