As we settle into 2020, a look back at the last decade shows it was a transformative one for building developments. Take a look at how the tech industry, and other factors, led to the creation entirely new neighborhoods as seen from 400 miles above.
Cows Test Their Sea Legs
Off the coast of the Netherlands, an unusual dairy farm is afloat—literally. The floating farm, which houses 35 cows, is staffed mostly by robots in an effort to make cities more self-sustaining.
Calculating Carbon Emissions is Key to Improving Health
In medicine, diagnostic tools are essential, arguably as important as advancements in treatments. Take the thermometer. In the early 1700s, physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit discovered that adding a bulb of mercury to a narrow glass tube created a more precise and efficient measure of temperature, forever changing the course of medicine. While the mercury thermometer was hardly the first means to document temperature shifts—Galileo created a device to do this in the late 1500s—its minimalist design and precise readings made for a widely accessible innovation. When it comes to the human body, an infection or abnormality only can be cured, or treated, when its presence is known, which means advancements in diagnostic devices are constantly in demand. The same goes for our planet, and instruments that help measure, maintain, and restore its balance are as vital as ever.
What happens to the shopping malls abandoned for online retail convenience? In most cases, they become derelict edifices of pre-internet capitalism. But America's oldest shopping mall, the Arcade Providence, is getting a new lease on life thanks to Northeast Collaborative Architects. The firm transformed the building into a mixed-use, multi-unit housing project with 48 charming and affordable micro-apartments that start at just $550 a month in rent.
SETI's New Mixtape For E.T. Promises To Be Cosmically Cool
SETI is gearing up to release a brand-new mixtape out into the cosmos, following their deployment of the Golden Record 40 years ago. This mixtape, called EARTHLING, will feature crowdsourced human voices, contributions from professional and amateur musicians, and an app that will allow anyone with a smartphone to capture sounds and mix them into a musical contribution. EARTHLING was revealed at this year's SXSW and is helmed by Felipe Perez Santiago, a composer and SETI's artist-in-residence.
Retail in 2019: More Subscriptions, More Sustainability, and More Startups
There's no doubt that online retail has changed the "how" of shopping, but this unbelievably expansive marketplace has opened up new possibilities for the "what" of shopping, as well. 2018 saw a proliferation of subscription services and new approaches to familiar markets. 2019 continues that trend, but with greater emphasis put on sustainable materials, social inclusivity, and crowd-sourced design.
Casper may think they have the modern sleep market cornered, but an old-school contender is about to disturb the waters. The inventor of the original waterbed has something new up his sleeve that's designed to please both die-hard fans and new converts. The new waterbed, called Afloat, promises more precise body conturing than a regular mattress, no microscopic bugs, and the ability to control the temperature of the water.
Hustle Porn is Unrealistic and Sexist
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has a message for Silicon Valley and people who want to get there: stop working yourself to death. What Ohanian calls "hustle porn" is a pervasive idea that to succeed in tech a person needs to give up everything that isn't work related— including families, hobbies, and regular eating and exercise schedules— and embrace suffering as evidence of hard work. This ethos is harder on women to adhere to, and overall it's terrible for anyone's health.
Space Artist Imagines Way Cooler Night Sky
For now, space artist Ron Miller is bound by gravity and expense to remain on planet Earth, but that doesn't mean he can't bring the heavens a little closer to home. Using a photo of the moon rising over Death Valley as reference, Miller inserted the other eight planets into the picture and the results are jaw dropping. "We would all feel a lot more humble with Jupiter's presence constantly looking over us," Miller explained to the Daily Mail.
If it seems WeWork couldn't possibly do more with the modern office, think again. The $20 billion company realizes that for some of its tenants who represent established companies, such as Microsoft or Facebook, the built-in culture that WeWork offers isn't what's needed. For that reason they created HQ by WeWork, a pared-down arrangement with less staff and minimal WeWork branding.
Food Gets The Futurist Treatment
We may not have flying cars or jet packs (yet), but the future is undoubtedly here. That reality of unprecedented changed applies to what and how we eat, too. The future of food looks hopeful, with a predicted abundance of tasty faux-meat products, personalized diets tailored to your genome, and an increase in genetically engineered foods that will provide more nutrition in a smaller serving size.
Numtots Are Exactly the Type of Meme-Making Millennials That City Dwellers Need
Public transit: it’s ubiquitous, divisive, and apparently meme-worthy. Numtots, or members of the Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens,” are an international group of millennials whose big ideas about improving city life all use the Internet’s favorite means of communication. Although seemingly niche, the group has over 100,000 active members.
Art in the 21st century is bursting out of frames and into the real world. Tokyo’s Digital Art Museum immerses visitors into 107,000 square feet of psychedelic visualizations, many of which are interactive. A group of ultra-technologists called teamLab brought this unprecedented space to life.
House-Flipping Has Come to the Virtual World
One of the best parts of The Sims, the wildly popular life simulation video game, is building and renovating the house the Sims inhabit. Finally, there’s a game that lets players focus exclusively on that pursuit without the mundane life stuff, like getting a job or taking a shower. House Flipper, available on Steam for under $20, allows players to flip a fixer-upper in impressively rendered virtual detail with complete creative control.
In 2022, You Can Finally Step Inside a Studio Ghibli Movie
Celebrated Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, helmed by co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, has unveiled visualizations for a theme park slated for completion in 2022. The nearly 500-acre attraction will feature recreations of the 19th-century European brick architecture that takes pride of place in such beloved films as Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle. No designers have been named yet, but Studio Ghibli asserts that the end result will respect Japan’s historical origins and natural environment.