August 05, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: Holyoke & Hurricanes

On the inaugural episode of the all-new, all-different The Big Rethink, I’m joined by Mike Bloomberg — no, not that one — the chief of staff to Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse. We discussed the city’s lessons from Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and led 2,200 climate refugees to the city of only 40,000. We also discussed what mayors can really do during the crisis without federal support, and how Morse intends to win his Congressional primary in September. Click through to see the soft launch episode above.

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August 05, 2020  |  permalink

Will US Immigration Policy Changes Mean the End of Silicon Valley As We Know It?


(Originally published August 4, 2020 on Medium by Henley & Partners.)

On 22 June, President Trump signed an executive order suspending temporary work visas — including H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 visas — through the end of 2020. In doing so, Trump doubled down on his promise, tweeted in April, to “temporarily suspend immigration into the U.S.,” by extending the prohibition on green cards through the end of the year as well. Together, the bans would bar as many as 525,000 foreign workers from entering the country for the rest of the year.

Seen through one lens, the order is only the latest salvo in White House aide Stephen Miller’s years-long campaign to curtail worker visas, arguing that they harm employment prospects for Americans. But the largest category of these visas — the employer-sponsored H-1B, annually awarded to 85,000 high-skilled foreign workers, three-quarters of whom labor for tech companies — has long been the subject of withering critique from the opposite end of the political spectrum as Silicon Valley’s favorite tool for creating a subservient underclass of talent.

Given their tenuous status, H-1B holders anonymously report stressful conditions and workplace discrimination — with little recourse from government or management. Trump’s populist arguments to curtail immigration on behalf of domestic workers will likely win him few fans among rank-and-file techies — nearly 60% of visa-holders’ native-born colleagues oppose policies that would limit the program and would prefer to see more protections and opportunities for their colleagues.

Silicon Valley’s CEOs have been more circumspect, torn between the hiring and financial imperatives to keep the foreign talent pipelines flowing and their need to appease a president who is not shy about vocally retaliating. For example,, the immigration advocacy group co-founded by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, called the proposed executive order a “significant mistake”. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg himself is facing down an open rebellion within Facebook over the decision not to take down the president’s incendiary posts, and in late June Unilever announced it was withdrawing all advertising from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the US, stating that such advertising “would not add value to people and society”. Other megabrands including Coca-Cola quickly followed suit.

For Facebook, the solution to both dilemmas is to replace one geographic arbitrage with another under the cover of the pandemic. In late May — well after news of the executive order had leaked — the company abruptly announced it would transition nearly half of its 48,000 employees to remote work over the next decade. But there was a catch: salaries would be tied to the local cost of living, and employees who tried to game the system would be punished.

Facebook’s decision — preceded or quickly matched by Twitter, Shopify, Slack, and others — has been painted as a response to the social distancing conditions necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, but it is also a form of arbitrage, anticipating the impending end of one pool of cheap talent and preparing to replace it with another in the event of a second Trump term. If so, the result will not only be the end of the H-1B program, but the end of Silicon Valley as we know it.

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July 29, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: Is It Finally Infrastructure Week?

In a special summer episode of The Big Rethink: Is It Finally Infrastructure Week?, Stanford’s Julie Kim, Harvard Business School’s John Macomber, and CityMart’s Sascha Haselmayer explored how cities might productively invest in new infrastructure during a time of pressing need and historically low interest rates even as they grapple with a new round of austerity. Click above for video.

The Big Rethink will be back soon with a new weekly format combining a short talk by yours truly and a video interview to match. Stay tuned!

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July 29, 2020  |  permalink

The Data-Driven Case For Working Face-to-Face

Last week, the membership of CoreNet NYC invited me and NewCities to curate a session on the post-pandemic future of (white-collar) work. Rather than uncritically praise work-from-home-forever, I invited Humanyze’s Ben Waber, Plastarc’s Melissa Marsh, and Jacobs’ Andie Moeder to explore how cracks are beginning to show in organizations and the mental health of their employeers. Click to watch the video above; a longer description is below:

The conventional wisdom has spoken: offices are dead, officially killed by fears of contagion and quietly suffocated by large occupiers eager to clear their leases off the books. But just because working from home has proven surprisingly productive the last few months — at mounting personal and psychological costs — doesn’t mean organizations and their employees can maintain this pace forever. Communication patterns hint the cracks are already starting to show: ideas are being lost; dots aren’t being connected. How long and in what ways will organizations regret not working together face-to-face? What new metrics will emerge to better connect workplace design with overall performance? And what is the future for co-working and shared workspaces in a post-pandemic world of people working alone, together? Our panelists draw upon data and experience to make the case that even if the office-as-we-know-it is dead, something must replace it.

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July 24, 2020  |  permalink

The Atlantic Council’s “What World Post COVID-19?”

My colleagues Peter Engelke and Anca Agachi at the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative are interviewing the team’s non-resident senior fellows for our thoughts on the world, post-COVID. Please click through for the edited interview, or watch the video above for my usual rapid-fire commentary.

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July 18, 2020  |  permalink

NewCities’ New Housing Solutions LIVE

Last week, NewCities held its annual housing event, New Housing Solutions LIVE. We convened more than 50 speakers and 700 attendees over three days on the eve of a looming avalanche of evictions and foreclosures to chart a path forward after the COVID-19 pandemic. Videos of most sessions will be available soon, but for now here’s the closing keynote by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on her radical Homes for All Act.

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July 13, 2020  |  permalink

Rethinking Real Estate Podcast with Dror Poleg


I had the distinct pleasure of being the first guest on Rethinking Real Estate author Dror Poleg’s relaunched podcast. We sparred about whether “COVID flight” is real, talked about my forthcoming Millennial Metric report for NewCities, and how the future of the suburbs… is urban? Click through above to listen on Apple Podcasts.

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July 04, 2020  |  permalink

Inoculating the Planet: Cities After COVID-19

On June 18th, the Urban Land Institute’s Orange Country & Inland Empire chapter invited me to speak about how real estate, cities, and life will change post-pandemic. Click through to watch the entire thing, but the organizing principle is Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice:”

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

“Fire” is climate change; “ice” is economic collapse. We will be forced to choose unless we build a different, more just world. Click above to learn how.

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July 04, 2020  |  permalink

CoMotion MIAMI Live: Ford’s Mark Kaufman

Last week, CoMotion hosted its first virtual event, CoMotion Miami LIVE. More than a thousand participants joined us online for two days of keynotes, discussions, workshops, and even networking (complete with stay-at-home bubbly). You can register to watch a replay of the conference here, and individual sessions will hit the Web in the weeks to come, but as a preview, here’s my fireside chat with Ford’s global head of electrification, Mark Kaufman, about the forthcoming Mach-E, how the company plans to deal with range anxiety, and its master plan for EV infrastructure.

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June 15, 2020  |  permalink

Navigating the Noise: Coming Back to Mobility

My friend Brian David Johnson (pictured) recently invited me on his podcast, Navigating the Noise, sponsored by the Corporate Housing Providers Association. Video is above; a description is below:

Mobility is very important in the corporate housing industry. But as we move to a post-COVID world, what does mobility look like? And will it ever be the same as it was before?

In this half hour podcast, you’ll hear:

Futurist Brian David Johnson discuss what mobility looks like in a post-COVID world
Futurist Greg Lindsay reveal his research on how workers, employers and cities are redefining mobility
Maura Carey from Dwellworks outline how corporate housing companies can adapt to this new reality
Three things you can do now to prepare for the new world of mobility—plus two lightning rounds of additional takeaways!


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About Greg Lindsay

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Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is the director of applied research at NewCities and director of strategy at its mobility offshoot CoMotion.  He is also a partner at FutureMap, a geo-strategic advisory firm based in Singapore, a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

» More about Greg Lindsay

Articles by Greg Lindsay

Fast Company  |  March 2020

How to design a smart city that’s built on empowerment—not corporate surveillance

URBAN-X  |  December 2019


CityLab  |  December 10, 2018

The State of Play: Connected Mobility in San Francisco, Boston, and Detroit

Harvard Business Review  |  September 24, 2018

Why Companies Are Creating Their Own Coworking Spaces

CityLab  |  July 2018

The State of Play: Connected Mobility + U.S. Cities

Medium  |  May 1, 2017

The Engine Room

Fast Company  |  January 19, 2017

The Collaboration Software That’s Rejuvenating The Young Global Leaders Of Davos

The Guardian  |  January 13, 2017

What If Uber Kills Public Transport Instead of Cars

Backchannel  |  January 4, 2017

The Office of the Future Is…an Office

New Cities Foundation  |  October 2016

Now Arriving: A Connected Mobility Roadmap for Public Transport

Inc.  |  October 2016

Why Every Business Should Start in a Co-Working Space

Popular Mechanics  |  May 11, 2016

Can the World’s Worst Traffic Problem Be Solved?

The New Republic  |  January/February 2016

Hacking The City

Fast Company  |  September 22, 2015

We Spent Two Weeks Wearing Employee Trackers: Here’s What We Learned

Fast Company  |  September 21, 2015

HR Meets Data: How Your Boss Will Monitor You To Create The Quantified Workplace

Inc.  |  March 2015

Which Contacts Should You Keep in Touch With? Let This Software Tell You

Inc.  |  March 2015

5 Global Cities of the Future

Global Solution Networks  |  December 2014

Cities on the Move

Medium  |  November 2014

Engineering Serendipity

New York University  |  October 2014

Sin City vs. SimCity

» See all articles


September 21, 2020

The Big Rethink: Can’t Stop Columbus with Jordan Davis

September 15, 2020

CREtech Consulting Talks: Reimagining Cities and The Entire Built World

September 07, 2020

The Atlantic Council’s “The Future is Here”

September 03, 2020

The Big Rethink: Technology vs. Democracy with Bianca Wylie

» More blog posts