January 04, 2010  |  permalink

The Morning After

What left is there to say about Delta Flight 253, the Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit nearly blown out of the sky by the “pants bomber.” Plenty, actually.

The hysterical overreaction once again underscores Americans’ extreme cognitive dissonance when it comes to flying—we hate it, we’re terrified of it, and yet we can’t stop doing it. The awe of flight seems to tickle something in our reptilian brains, triggering utterly irrational fears. As Suburban Empire points out:

Every thirteen minutes it kills someone in the United Estates, 115 Americans a day die. 42,686 people a year; like a city the size of Grand Junction being wiped off the map. It is not terrorism that draws good people to their untimely deaths each year; it is car accidents…

In order to have the same amount of Americans in danger of succumbing to terrorism as car wrecks; September 11th, 2001 would have to happen three times a month; every month, of every year.

And yet the risk of driving is an acceptable one; no one suggests security checkpoints at the end of every driveway, or mandatory breathalyzer tests before you climb behind the wheel. (I was probably over the legal limit myself driving home from the bars one night in Illinois.) But the pants bomber has rendered full-body imaging scanners a fait accompli. The instant, cynical reaction on the Web was: “This will only make me fly less.” But it won’t.

» Continue reading...

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


January 04, 2010  |  permalink

It’s Here.

The Burj Dubai Khalifa opens today, at a cost of either $800 million, $1.4 billion, or $4 billion, depending on which estimate you believe. (And Sheikh Mo wonders why people think he has a transparency problem.)

CNN, The National, and everyone else has coverage of the opening festivities, which are happening right now. But maybe the most impressive thing of all about the building is that it’s already in the black.

After selling 90 per cent of the units in the record-setting edifice, Emaar has pocketed a profit of at least 10 per cent on the US$1.5 billion (Dh5.51bn) cost of construction, said Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar’s chairman.

“Tall buildings don’t make money. They normally don’t,” Mr Alabbar said. “But to still sell it and make a return of more than 10 per cent? That’s really fabulous.”

Emaar is holding the remaining 10 percent in reserve for sales after the building opens. Equally remarkable is that prices isn’t the Burj haven’t been chopped in half along with the rest of the emirate, nor have prices in the surrounding “Old Town” plummeted, either. At least least some parts of Dubai aren’t a ghost town.

UPDATE: Although Sheikh Mo revealed at the last moment that it’s been renamed the “Burj Khalifa” in honor of the UAE president who rules the oil-rich emirate just up the road. That’s what an eleventh-hour, $10 billion loan earns you these days.

image

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


January 04, 2010  |  permalink

And Yet, They’re Still Teaching Children To Work At Newspapers

Or they are at my alma mater, anyway. Here’s why that’s a bad idea:

“Newspapers had a nice run from the 1970s to the 1990s. Unfortunately, as this chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes clear—by way of Marketwatch—it’s over. Newspaper employment has utterly collapsed in the last 15 years, with employment numbers now around where they were in the mid-1950s.”

image

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 31, 2009  |  permalink

I’m back…

...from a week in the frozen wastes of Illinois. What did I miss?

Oh. Right.

More on that tomorrow. In the spirit of the holidays, watch the employees of TAP Airlines in Lisbon show us how it’s done when it comes to making airports inviting places instead of DMZ checkpoints.


Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 21, 2009  |  permalink

China Isn’t (Necessarily) Cheap, It’s Better, Too.

My colleague-of-sorts Jeff Chu has an interview with John Edelman, the new CEO of Design Within Reach. This on the heels of Jeff’s thorough examination of the rise and fall of the modernist furniture retailer, which ruined its business model and alienated designers under previous management. The interview is pretty revealing, as far as CEO interviews go, but I found this exchange especially telling:

One of the common knocks, of course, is that much of what DWR stocks is not within financial reach. That isn’t exactly in keeping with some of the history of modern design, which was meant to be somewhat more accessible to the masses.

I agree. I think if Charles and Ray Eames were producing today, they’d be in China. One of the unfair knocks in this business is against China. If you were to do a knockoff in China, that’s bad taste, bad business, and bad form, but why not do a new design there? What’s the problem? If you’re saying it can’t be done, what a disrespectful comment to the whole nation of China.

Ninety percent of women’s footwear—even the upper part of the market—is made in China, and people are perfectly happy with it. The shoe business did not leave America for price. It left for ease of manufacturing and because American factories just couldn’t adapt. If we work with a top designer, we can do it. It depends on the type of piece. They may not have the quality control in general, but you have to plant one of your employees in China to make sure you get that quality control. You have to get a perfect prototype and you have to babysit and you have to live with production. But you’d have to do that in Italy, America, or China. Just because it was made in Italy doesn’t make is better. In real sourcing, you go to the best place—you should expect new DWR designs that are made in Italy, in America, in China. And it has to be heirloom quality.

Edelman is willing to admit what many CEOs and most Americans are not—Chinese manufacturers are not just cheaper than their American manufacturers, they’re better at it, too. Why? Agglomeration economies for one thing, and Jane Jacobs’ “creative inefficiencies” for another. In a nutshell: if you concentrate enough skilled people in one place, their skills and their work will continue to evolve separately from the tasks required of them. You can’t “bring American jobs back from China” for this reason, because they’re no longer American jobs. In many ways, American factory workers’ Chinese counterparts are the more skilled of the two. Harvard professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih worried about the long-term consequences of this in a Harvard Business Review article this spring entitle “Restoring American Competitiveness.” By ceding what they called “the industrial commons” to China, they wrote, America had lost the know-how for innovation.

As Edelman notes, you go to the best place when sourcing, and “best” can mean any number of things—a time, cost, skills equation with a number of variables. But it’s clear China is no longer just about cost.

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 21, 2009  |  permalink

Why Is This Man Laughing?

“Full Eurostar Rail Service Unlikely Before Christmas.”

image

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 21, 2009  |  permalink

The Dark Ages Are Still The Dark Ages Any Way You Look At It.

Nick Denton in the NYT this morning:

“If Gawker’s bloggers are barbarian invaders, they’re Visigoths, who might have sacked Rome, but were themselves refugees from the even more vicious Huns,” he suggested, sounding almost quaintly old media (although don’t look for them to start covering the Congressional subcommittee on health care any time soon).

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 19, 2009  |  permalink

Pick Your Poison:

Sit on a runway for hours waiting to take off (or in the air, circling on approach)...

Or trapped on a train with thousands of passengers, in a tunnel under the English Channel, without heat, light, or water, breathing stifling air?

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 15, 2009  |  permalink

I Was Close…

...as far as the Golden Globe nominations, are concerned. Up in the Air earned six: Best Picture, Drama; Best Actor, Drama (George Clooney); Best Supporting Actress (both Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick); Best Director (Jason Reitman), and Best Screenplay (Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner).

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


December 15, 2009  |  permalink

British Airways’ Twelve Days of Christmas

If you’re planning to fly to London on BA this Christmas, you should rebook right away. The airline’s cabin crews have decided to strike from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2, just long enough to throw the airline and Heathrow into holiday chaos. As if things weren’t bad enough for BA—falling premium traffic, slashed routes, the inability to add a third runway at Heathrow in our lifetimes—analysts are pegging potential losses at 40-50 million pounds, or close to triple what it was losing this time last year.

image

By the perverse logic of the airline industry, this is a good thing, because by breaking the union, BA will save an estimated 100 million pounds a year. (You have a break a few eggs to serve complimentary omelettes in Club World, after all). But the real winners will be easyJet, Ryanair, and Flybe, hastening the gradual consolidation (or collapse) of Europe’s legacy carriers and the ascendency of ala carte carriers overall.

In related news, the global airline industry only expects to lose $5.6 billion next year, barely half what it expects to lose this year. The money quote: “Tough times continue,” Mr. Bisignani said. “The number of travelers will be back to the peak levels of 2007, but with $30 billion less in revenues.” (emphasis mine)

Who will take the biggest hit? Airlines in Europe are expected to be the slowest to recover, generating the largest expected losses of $2.5 billion next year, the I.A.T.A. said. In North America, losses will likely shrink to around $2 billion from $2.9 billion this year.

And who will be the big winners? “Asian airlines are likely to show the most dramatic improvement next year, with losses expected at around $700 million compared with $3.4 billion in 2009. The recovery will be led by China , where the economy is forecast to grow by 9 percent next year... Middle East carriers are likely to see their losses shrink to $300 million from $1.2 billion in 2009, despite the recent financial difficulties affecting Dubai. The Gulf region has become a major hub for intercontinental traffic.”

Emirates Airlines expects to post a billion-dollar profit next year, by the way. There’s a good reason why it might end up the property of Abu Dhabi.

Posted by Greg Lindsay  |  Categories:  |  Comments


Page 40 of 42 pages « First  <  38 39 40 41 42 >

About Greg Lindsay

» Folllow me on Twitter.
» Friend me on Facebook.
» Email me.
» See upcoming events.

image
Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a senior fellow of the New Cities Foundation — where he leads the Connected Mobility Initiative  — a non-resident senior fellow of The Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative, a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, a contributing writer for Fast Company and co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next.

» More about Greg Lindsay

Articles by Greg Lindsay

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

Harvard Business Review  |  October 2014

Workspaces That Move People

Inc.  |  April 2014

The Network Effect

Atlantic Cities  |  March 2014

How Las Vegas (Of All Places) May Be About to Reinvent Car Ownership

Wired (UK)  |  October 2013

How to Build a Serendipity Engine

Next American City  |  August 2013

IBM’s Department of Education

» See all articles

Blog

November 29, 2017

Aerial Futures: Leading Edge

November 20, 2017

From Mixed-Use to “Mixed-Up Use” Real Estate

November 20, 2017

LA CoMotion 2017

November 10, 2017

Intel’s “Passenger Economy” Live at URBAN-X

» More blog posts