June 15, 2020  |  permalink

CoMotion LIVE: Life After Lockdown — Learning From Asia’s All-Delivery Future

On June 10th, I hosted “Life After Lockdown: Asia’s All-Delivery Future,” another episode of CoMotion LIVE. Video is above; the description is below:

As America & Europe emerge from lockdown in fits and starts, important lessons can be learned from Asia, where a new normal has already settled over megacities like Tokyo and Taipei that have effectively beaten the novel coronavirus. Key to these developments has been an increased reliance on delivery – of food, medicine, and everyday essentials. And in truly futuristic fashion, delivery robots are playing an increasingly critical role in making these deliveries, allowing for contact-free conveyance.

Thanks to our audience for joining us Wednesday, June 10th for CoMotion LIVE: Life After Lockdown: Learning from Asia’s All-Delivery Future. Our special guests were Kevin Xu, Co-Founder & CSO of self-driving commercial vehicle pioneer Neolix, based out of Beijing, William Bao Bean, General Partner at SOSV, and Managing Director of Chinaccelerator and MOX, Keenon Robotics’ VP of Market Justin Wu, and Anthony Townsend, author of Ghost Road.


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June 08, 2020  |  permalink

Waze + The Future of Mobility Post-COVID

On June 2nd, I addressed an audience of Waze executives from across Latin America on the future of urban mobility following COVID-19 — will residents abandon public transit out of (misplaced) fears of contagion? How can governments increase mobility options before residents turn to cars en masse? And what roles will delivery and autonomy play in city life after worst of the pandemic is over? Click play above to see what scenarios the future may have in store.

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June 08, 2020  |  permalink

Broadscale: The Future of Cities & Transportation

On June 3rd, I joined Broadscale’s Andrew Shapiro and Via CEO Daniel Ramot for a wide-ranging conversation on the future of cities and transportation post-COVID — and post-Black Lives Matter. Tune in above to watch us in action. (I make my first appearance at the 9:00 mark.)

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June 08, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: Decarbonizing the Hard Way

On May 19th, I hosted the seventh episode of The Big Rethink: Cities After COVID-19, NewCities’ Webinar series on how the virus has impacted cities. Joining me along with 500+ attendees were Kathy Baughman McLeod, Senior Vice President & Director, Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Billy Fleming, Wilks Family Director, The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism + Ecology, and Charles-Edouard Delpierre, General Manager Urban, Tractebel-ENGIE Group. Click to watch the replay above; the episode description is below.

Ready for an inconvenient truth? Images of clear waterways and clean skies provide a devastating glimpse into the extent to which business-as-usual human activity impacts the planet, but they don’t depict an effective response to climate change. Climate action at the order of magnitude necessary to stabilize the planet requires more so that we can have less: more behavioral change, investment into the zero-carbon transition, and protections for vulnerable populations to make sure that less pollution and inequality becomes the global norm. Doing so at a time when oil traders literally can’t give their contracts away may require more than just markets or incentives — what should a Green Bailout look like?

On this episode of The Big Rethink, we explore the opportunities provided by COVID-19 to set a precedent that accelerates global climate action. We’ll discuss why denser cities are more energy efficient, the chicken or egg dynamic between political will and clean energy technology, the importance of a unified global response, and why we need to prioritize the most vulnerable.


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June 08, 2020  |  permalink

CoMotion LIVE: How Britain Gets Moving Again

Back on May 20th, I hosted “How Britain Gets Moving Again: Why the UK is a Leader in New Mobility,” another episode of CoMotion LIVE. Video is above; the description is below:

The United Kingdom has long been a leader in transportation, and the current crisis is underscoring the country’s strong commitment to innovative mobility, across both the public and private sectors. From greater London’s huge new Crossrail, to open streets and progressive electric vehicle fleet mandates, the Brits are showing the world how to emerge from this crisis with better – and greener – mobility for all.

Our community joined us Wednesday, May 20, for CoMotion LIVE: How Britain Gets Moving Again: Why the UK Is a Leader in New Mobility. You’ll hear from the key leaders driving Britain’s mobility revolution: Richard Bruce, Director of Energy, Technology and Innovation at the U.K. Department for Transport, Transport for London’s head of Transport Strategy and Planning Christina Calderato, Roger Atkins, Founder of Electric Vehicles Outlook and global expert on electric mobility and Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper.

I’ve also recorded recent podcasts with Walk21’s Bronwen Thorton (below) and Greenlots COO Hernik Holland (bottom) on Britain’s mobility policies, the future of electric car charging, and more.



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June 01, 2020  |  permalink

Alphabet’s Dream of a Smart City in Toronto Is Over

Last month, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs subsidiary pulled the plug on its two-year lobbying-and-PR effort to build a privately-controlled and operated district along the Toronto waterfront. Although the company cited economic headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason, it faced fierce opposition from local activists, digital privacy experts, and even the Cement Association of Canada.

One of those activists was Bianca Wylie, who I had the pleasure of inviting to speak at Prague’s reSITE festival in 2019. Her talk on “the power of the collective” is embedded above.

I was also fortunate to be interviewed by Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen the day of the announcement. A few choice quotes made it into his story:

Sidewalk Labs’ failure signals how much attitudes toward big technology companies and their influence over our lives has shifted in recent years. If a company like Alphabet, with its talent and resources, can’t pull off such a project, it’s not clear anyone can.

“I would like to think this is the defeat of the privately owned city,” said Greg Lindsay of NewCities, an urban policy think tank, and a visiting scholar at NYU’s transportation policy school.

Alphabet’s final goals for the Toronto project never seemed clear throughout its life.

“Their business model continually shifted, and they never presented a final plan,” Lindsay said. “It appears that they never settled on one.”


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May 14, 2020  |  permalink

CoMotion LIVE: Rethinking the Street

On May 13th, I hosted “Rethinking the Street,” the latest episode of CoMotion LIVE. Video is above; the description is below:

Cities around the world are using the current crisis as an opportunity to reimagine the street — the most basic building block of any city. We convened on 5/13 to explore different approaches to opening urban streets to people, both during and after the pandemic.

Rethinking the Street brought together some of the sharpest global minds actively working to recreate our roads for a better tomorrow: Philippe Chiambaretta, head of Paris-based PCA Architects and in charge of the brilliant program to reimagine the iconic Champs-Élysées; Pierfrancesco Maran, Deputy Mayor of Milan, where already 35 km of roads are being transformed to promote active mobility and to limit car use as the city emerges from lockdown; Michael Schneider, whose organization Streets for All is leading the charge for open streets in Los Angeles; and Bronwen Thornton, CEO of the UK’s Walk21, an international NGO dedicated to ensuring the right to walk the world over.

To further elaborate on the topic, I invited the Street Plans Collaborative’s Mike Lydon on the CoMotion podcast. (Audio below.)

Episode 65. Greg Lindsay sits down with Mike Lydon, Principal at Street Plans, to discuss how he helps guide cities as they move to open street space for pedestrians and cyclists. Greg also chats with Jonah Bliss about cities’ open streets initiatives, recent micromobility tie-ups, and other happenings of the week.



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May 12, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: The How, What, and Where of Work

On May 12th, I hosted the sixth episode of The Big Rethink: Cities After COVID-19, NewCities’ Webinar series on how the virus has impacted cities. Joining me along with 500+ attendees were Canadian Union of Postal Workers president Jan Simpson, Googleplex architect Clive Wilkinson, Cisco’s public sector chief growth officer Munish Khetrapal, and Jamira Burley, head of youth engagement & skills at the Global Business Coalition for Education. Click to watch the replay above; the episode description is below.

In the context of COVID-19, the term ‘essential’ has gone beyond defining indispensable activities and labor during a time of crisis and entered the realm of Orwellian doublespeak. The pandemic has only accelerated a much larger conversation being led by market forces, the development and accessibility of technology, and other mega-trends about what is essential –and by definition, non-essential– about work in cities.

On this episode of The Big Rethink, we take a deep dive into the how, what, and where of the future of the urban workforce. We’ll discuss the dissonance in naming workers as essential whilst not providing protections or a living wage, why the Fourth Industrial Revolution requires skills-friendly cities, and whether the modern brick-and-mortar office will itself soon be deemed as non-essential.


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May 06, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: Beyond Megacities — Rethinking Density


On May 5th, I hosted the fifth episode of The Big Rethink: Cities After COVID-19, NewCities’ Webinar series on how the virus has impacted cities. Joining me along with 500+ attendees were former Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa, placemaker and author Jay Pitter, and URBZ co-founders Rahul Srivastava and Matias Echanove. Click to watch the replay above; the episode description is below.

Location, location, location. Repeat twice daily to justify some of the most troubling trends in modern urban development. We use location – and the idea that there’s a scarcity of lively, walkable, employment-rich city centers – to champion density as simply good urbanism, while rarely stopping to consider what “density” really means. The pandemic has revealed the stark contrast between density sheltering affluent residents in locations with an abundance of amenities, and crowding designed to trap forgotten residents on the peripheries of cities — density that’s deadly. Future-proofing our cities after COVID-19 demands a more nuanced conversation than heralding the triumph of the mega-city. Grappling with the densities of banlieues, favelas, slums, and legacy cities requires understanding how these places actually work, acknowledging what they lack — adequate housing and healthcare, both contributors to the spread of disease — and helping residents help themselves.

On this episode of The Big Rethink, we explore density’s role in the pandemic and how to better protect marginalized residents on the edges — the ones who were out of sight and out of mind until they started dying. We’ll discuss what constitutes good urban density, how to prioritize vulnerable populations, and whether COVID-19 could mark a turning point toward more polycentric urban development.


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May 06, 2020  |  permalink

CoMotion Podcast: What’s Next for EVs and the UAE


Episode 64. Outlook on EV Adoption. (Above) Greg Lindsay sits down with John Voelcker, a provider of global auto industry analysis, and Loren McDonald, content marketer and EV analyst, to discuss the rapidly approaching future of electric vehicles across the world. Greg also chats with Jonah Bliss about how the EV ecosystem will fare during and after the coronavirus crisis.

Episode 63. Micromobility in the UAE. (Below) Greg Lindsay sits down with Dheeraj Bhardwaj, CEO of Arnab Mobility, to discuss how his company is bringing micromobility to the United Arab Emirates. Greg also chats with Jonah Bliss about the plummeting prices of oil, airlines, and used cars, as well as how cities are continuing to react to the ongoing lockdowns.


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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