April 30, 2018  |  permalink

reSITE Sneak Peek: Cities as Luxury Goods?


(Ahead of reSITE 2018 ACCOMMODATE in Prague next month, our media partners at Citylab published an interview with myself and reSITE founder and chairman and founder Martin Barry. Please find it republished below.)

Housing has been identified as the number one issue of today’s cities by leading architects and planners, Teddy Cruz, Jean-Louis Missika, and Carl Weisbrod – all keynote speakers at reSITE events over the last three years. That’s where the theme of the reSITE 2018 Accommodate event, June 14-15 in Prague, begins. For this annual event, reSITE is inviting fifty international guests to explore the challenge and its solutions from all angles, including planning, design, technology, and new economic and social models of co-living and cohousing. Greg Lindsay, guest curator of reSITE, and Martin Barry, reSITE’s founder, speak about the theme of the upcoming June event.

Q:What do you define as the most pressing housing challenges cities face today?

Martin Barry: From Bordeaux to Belfast and Tokyo to Tel Aviv, cost of living has become one of the most pressing puzzles of our generation. As cities face increasing challenges to fund affordable housing solutions, we need to utilize new technologies and diverse partnerships. We need to build more and build closer to city centers or transit hubs. We need do it in a way that can open alternative ownership models that provide higher quality housing at affordable costs and a flexible structure. Increasing supply simply isn’t decreasing cost. If cities want to remain competitive, they should look no further than ensuring that people can find a good and affordable place to live.

Greg Lindsay: It’s become clear that the most beloved qualities of our cities have transformed them into luxury goods, and a process that started in London or New York a decade ago is trickling down into one city after another. Having a “right to the city” means having the right to live in the city, and that’s why we need new strategies, technologies, and protections to build homes for all of us. We need to build more housing where people want to live; we need to do it without the mass displacement of the people who live there now, and we need to stop financializing it.

Q: What are the new and expected trends related to housing and living in cities?

Greg Lindsay: As an American, I think it’s interesting that the dream of a single-family suburban home is receding for rich and poor alike. Soaring home prices coupled with stagnant incomes and austerity are leading some to reconsider collective housing, while at the very high end of the market, “co-living” offers wealthy residents housing as a membership club. Why pay a lease or a mortgage when you can sign up for a room in one city and then float to a luxury building in another? Home ownership has become either an unattainable ideal or a drag, depending on your tax bracket.

Martin Barry: Student housing in Europe is trending and there is a need, with over 7 million international students in 2020, compared with 4.1 million in 2014. However, the market in cities like Amsterdam, Lisbon and London will soon be saturated with ultra-luxury student apartments, which are more like 5-star hotels than the creaky flats that I lived in when I was in school. It’s a great sector for us to pilot new types of housing alternatives, because younger people have different expectations about how they want to live in the future city. We can test new ideas of co-living and intergenerational living as part of this trend.

Q: Why do we need to cooperate across disciplines?

Greg Lindsay: No single discipline or profession can solve this challenge. We need to rethink in parallel the design, construction, financing, and use of homes if we have any hopes of creating better cities. Simply building more housing isn’t enough; neither is designing a more beautiful or practice house, or finding ways to build them more cheaply, or with less money down. We need to think holistically and discover how one solution might reinforce another.

Q: What are your program tips for reSITE 2018?

Martin Barry: Alternative ownership, financing and regeneration models are driving the conversation about housing around the world. We will expand upon each of those at reSITE this year. Jeanne Gang is a practicing architect and a MacArthur Fellow, whose work at a recent MoMA exhibition “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream” will be a highlight. Reinier de Graaf’s first book “Four Walls and a Roof,” will be revealed at the event, where we expect him to lambaste apathetic architectural ideals and explain that architecture will always be flawed as long as humans conceive, create and build it.

Greg Lindsay: An emerging theme is top-down plans for large-scale regeneration — such as LSE Cities’ Richard Burdett and his role in remaking east London following the 2012 Summer Olympic Games — versus bottom-up craftsmanship, as demonstrated by the Turner Prize-winning architects of Assemble and the Mumbai-based research group URBZ. Resolving that tension productively will go a long way toward achieving our goals for housing.

reSITE 2018, the annual international forum showcasing better solutions for our urbanized world, sponsored by CityLab, will present 50 international speakers from 30 countries including architects Jeanne Gang, Michel Rojkind, Sou Fujimoto and Reinier de Graaf. Over 1,000 audience members including architects, planners, bottom-up innovators and municipal and private sector leaders will also attend on June 14–15, 2018 at Prague’s Forum Karlin.

To register and learn more, including about reSITE’s “Women Make Cities” discount promotion, which is available for all the women in architecture, design, NGOs and city leadership, visit reSITE.org.

About the event:
June 14-15, 2018
Prague, Forum Karlin
Register at reSITE.org

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April 26, 2018  |  permalink

Woods Bagot’s LA 3.0

LA 3.0: Development and Design for the New Los Angeles from Woods Bagot on Vimeo.

Back in February, Woods Bagot — Australia’s largest architecture firm — invited me to moderate and speak at “LA 3.0,” a half-day conference exploring the ongoing transformation of Los Angeles. Come for me, stay for LADOT’s Seleta Reynolds…

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April 20, 2018  |  permalink

The Flood Comes to Venice


I’m delighted to announce that “Bight: Coastal Urbanism” — a re-imagining of New York and New Jersey coastlines after 50 years and several feet of sea-level rise — will be exhibited this spring at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, also known as the Venice Architecture Biennale. Along with my teammates Rafi Segal, Susannah Drake, Sarah Williams, Brent Ryan, and Benjamin Albrecht, our work will be featured by the GAA Foundation and European Cultural Centre as part of the former’s “Time, Space, Existence” exhibit at the Palazzo Mora.

If you make your way to Venice this summer, I hope you’ll check it out.

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April 13, 2018  |  permalink

Brooklyn, Down Under, and Everywhere In Between


As New York finally thaws after a brutal winter — if you can call four Nor’easters in March “winter” — here’s a quick recap of my speaking schedule this year to date.

• I started the year in Orlando at the International Builders Show, speaking on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders. I was back in town a few weeks later to speak to the Urban Land Institute’s Central Florida chapter. In between, I hosted a workshop and public presentation on future uses of autonomous vehicles at URBAN-X in Brooklyn. Speaking of AVs, I spoke in San Antonio to the members of the American Traffic Safety Services Association — the highway workers who are arguably the most at risk from self-crashing cars. I ended the month moderating a panel on electric mobility at BMW iVentures’ inaugural Urban Mobility Forum in New York before hopping a transcontinental flight to Los Angeles for Woods Bagot’s “LA 3.0.”

• March was mostly about mobility. Dodging yet another Nor’easter, I spoke in Boston to the senior leadership of the design and engineering firm VHB before driving home after all planes and trains were canceled to catch an early morning flight to Chicago, where I moderated a session on mobility-as-a-service at the Shared Use Mobility Conference. But that was just a warm-up for the following week’s flight to Auckland to deliver the opening keynote at ITS New Zealand’s T-Tech Transport Innovation Conference.” If that wasn’t enough, on the way home, I laid over in Victoria, British Columbia to offer the Canadian Home Builders Association a whirlwind tour of the next twenty-five years. (They seemed less enthused about 3D-printed houses made from cultured meat.)

I hit the road again next week for CIBC’s 23rd Annual Real Estate Conference in Toronto, followed by Procurious’ Big Idea Summit in London before a May homestand in New York with NAIOP, CoreNet, MSCI, and MoMA. (Then the real fun begins, with trips to Riga, Prague, and Venice in early summer.)

Needless to say, please get in touch if you’d like me to make a stop somewhere in between!


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March 31, 2018  |  permalink

The Guardian: Private companies want to replace public transport. Should we let them?


The Guardian’s Mark Wilding asks, “private companies want to replace public transport. Should we let them?” To his credit, the answer is no, or at least “it depends.” Sampling Citymapper’s new ride-sharing service in London, and Helsinki’s Whim — the leader in mobility-as-a-service — Wilding finds the latter more appealing and public officials more willing to give it a try.

He was also kind enough to grant me the requisite Uber-is-coming-to-kill-you-all quote:

It might be working. When Transport for London recently announced that its passenger numbers have fallen, many pointed the finger at Uber. There is little evidence to prove that connection, but when researchers surveyed the residents of seven US cities in 2016, they found a 6% reduction in use of public buses and a 3% reduction in use of light rail after ride-hailing services were introduced. “Current evidence suggests that ride-hailing is pulling more people away from public transit in cities, rather than adding riders,” they said. Greg Lindsay of the NewCities Foundation encapsulates the thinking: “My fear is that Uber is going to lead to a cycle of cataclysmic disinvestment. They will try to siphon off the most profitable customers and leave public transport a rump service.”

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March 25, 2018  |  permalink



reSITE 2018 has an official title — “ACCOMMODATE” — and a roster of speakers that’s firming up quickly, including the architects Jeanne Gang, Sou Fujimoto, Michel Rojking, and Reinier de Graaf, the choreographer Elizabeth Streb, Amsterdam’s “night mayor,” Mirk Milan, and LSE Cities director Richard Burdett. Watch this space as the program develops, and please join us in Prague on June 14-15!

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March 22, 2018  |  permalink

New Zealand’s T-Tech Conference & Tech Podcast

I was in Auckland this week as a guest of ITS New Zealand and as the keynote speaker of the T-Tech conference exploring the future of mobility. (To one’s surprise, the Kiwis are away ahead of us.) While I was there, the NZ Tech Podcast host Paul Spain invited me to join him in the studio along with Syndex Exchange’s Mike Jenkins to discuss the conference, Zephyr Airworks’ autonomous electric air taxi, Apple Parental controls, Nest taking on Amazon, and the cold reality of an autonomous Uber killing a pedestrian. It was a great capstone to the trip.

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March 06, 2018  |  permalink

‘Cities-as-a-Service” at the International Builders Show


Back in January, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) invited me to speak at their mammoth annual convention in Orlando, the International Builders Show. As part of their IBS Live education track, I gave a talk titled “Cities-as-a-Service: What Does the On-Demand Economy Mean for Housing?” Running the gamut from dead malls to AVs to co-working and tactical urbanism, I made the case for why the old suburban formula of homes-for-living, office parks-for-working, and malls-for-shopping no longer works anymore. Although the talk is on Vimeo, I’ve password-protected it. Please drop me a line if you’d like to see it.

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February 19, 2018  |  permalink

Wired UK: “Could Uber run the London bus network? It’s complicated”


Wired UK’s Nicole Kobie skeptically considers whether Uber is sincere in its desire to move beyond cars into public transport. “I want to run the bus systems for a city,” says new-ish CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “I want you to be able to take an Uber and get into the subway… and get out and have an Uber waiting for you.”

Needless to say, I take a dim view of this kind of talk, and Kobie was kind enough to ask me for my thoughts:

Those without transport will welcome anyone who offers them a bus, regardless of whether it’s run by government, a tech firm or a community project, but Uber and its rivals may well prove an existential threat to public transport, says Greg Lindsay, Senior Fellow for mobility at the NewCities think tank. “Uber and other TNCs [transportation network companies] — the others are no more virtuous — have always been about disrupting public transport, about privatising the pieces of public transport that they found profitable and leaving the rest to wither,” he says.

There’s more.

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February 09, 2018  |  permalink

URBAN-X Demo Day

Last night in Brooklyn, URBAN-X hosted its third Demo Day, featuring pitches from nine startups in areas ranging from car-sharing and autonomous vehicle sensors (which you might expect for BMW MINI) to surveillance balloons and sensor-studded constructions cranes (which you might not). An entire livestream of the event is archived above, featuring pre-game commentary by myself, Urban.Us managing partner Shaun Abramson, and URBAN-X program director Miriam Roure, followed by an opening keynote by Zipcar founder Robin Chase. Tune in.

Update: In advance of Demo Day, the URBAN-X team also asked me to guest edit what they delightfully referred to as a “‘zine” spotlighting a few of the teams. A few snaps from its pages are appended below:




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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

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

Harvard Business Review  |  October 2014

Workspaces That Move People

» See all articles


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