November 26, 2022  |  permalink

CBC’s Spark on Solutionism & Mutual Aid

Nora Taylor, host of CBC Radio’s Spark radio show and podcast, invited me on to discuss early pandemic-era efforts to organize mutual aid efforts through the same corporate productivity tools remote workers relied on to continue business-as-usual: Slack, AirTable, Google Docs, and more. I’m in good company:

Big Tech aims to solve large social issues, from housing to urban transportation. We discuss tech solutionism with Paris Marx, host of Tech Won’t Save Us podcast, author of Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong About the Future of Transportation. And, with massive layoffs happening all over Silicon Valley, and the sale of Twitter throwing social media into chaos, is it time to rekindle the cooperatives movement in tech? Nathan Schneider, professor of media studies at University of Colorado, Boulder and director of the Media Enterprise Design Lab, talks about tech co-ops. Then, Greg Lindsay, urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech University and a senior fellow at MIT’s Future Urban Collective, talks about peer-to-peer solutions focused on mutualism and solidarity in times of crisis.

Listen to the whole episode here.

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November 16, 2022  |  permalink

Henley & Partners: Digital Assets, Metaverse, and Sovereignty

Henley & Partners — the consultancy that more or less invented citizenship-by-investment — invited me to speak at 16th annual Global Citizenship Conference on the subject of the Metaverse, digital assets, and sovereignty.

This is an area of great interest to me, both because of my current “Metaverse Metropolis” fellowship at Cornell Tech, and the panel I hosted last year featuring Gabriel Abed — Barbados’ ambassador to both the UAE and the Metaverse. What does sovereignty means in a virtual context, and how does the de-territorialization of citizenship translate back to the physical world?

To explore these questions, I was joined by Nirbhay Handa, Group Head of Business Development at Henley & Partners; Aliya Das Gupta, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Sygnum; Bril Wang, Chief Executive Officer of Cryptic Labs, which built the blockchain underpinnings of Palau’s digital citizenship; and Raagulan Pathy, VP of Asia Pacific at Circle.

Click on the video above to watch; my modest contribution to the conversation runs from roughly the 9:30 to 12:30 minute mark.

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November 08, 2022  |  permalink

Lightbox PRISM 2022

I was delighted to deliver the opening keynote at the Lightbox PRISM 2022 conference last month on how “software is eating commercial real estate” (and the world, of course). One of my topics was climate change — as you might expect given my work for Climate Alpha. As it turns out, I was only the first among many speakers to raise the subject. From Lightbox’s recap of the event:

In a keynote presentation, Greg Lindsay, chief communications officer of Climate Alpha, a location analysis platform steering governments and investments towards more climate-resilient geographies, discussed how post-pandemic trends and climate change are reshaping the work environment. Lindsay shared that now is an opportune time for us to reimagine what cities and real estate should be. An estimated 40 percent of Americans suffered from some form of climate disaster last year, whether flooding or hurricanes or wildfires or wildfire smoke damaging the air quality in places like the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies near Colorado. Fortunately, technology has given us powerful tools to deal with climate change. 

Changing work habits are affecting the planet. Six times more people are working at home than before the pandemic, and that can’t happen without massive ramifications for the built environment. We’re seeing the rise of new real estate trends, such as individuals who need more space moving into single-family rentals because multifamily can’t accommodate them—and because the U.S. never built enough new homes after the financial crash.

Read the rest here.

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November 03, 2022  |  permalink

Fast Company Innovation Festival 2022

The Fast Company Innovation Festival — a virtual mainstay of mine during the pandemic years — returned in-person for 2022, and I had the pleasure of hosting multiple sessions for IBM (at top), FIS (below), Meta (at bottom), and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (not pictured).

Kicking things off was my fireside chat with IBM’s Jason McGee, general manager and CTO of the company’s cloud business, covered the evolution from “private clouds” to “public clouds” (think AWS), to the inevitable “hybrid clouds.” Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

How did the pandemic help drive this shift, for both good and bad?

What’s interesting is how we got a lot more tactical in an environment like that—how do I solve this problem right now? There’s some freedom in that—people worried less about the strategic ramifications 10 years from then. But now we’re three years out, dealing with all the fallout of the short-term decisions you made, including all your different partners and cloud providers you signed in the heat of it. The stumbling block now is: How do I get a handle on everything I’ve done and bring some consistency to that environment? Because all of that complexity is bogging me down.

The next day, I spoke with Taira Hall, SVP of B2B and strategic innovation at FIS, and her colleague Stephane Wyper, SVP and global head of venture investment, about embedded finance and what it means for the future of the financial industry. What is “embedded finance,” you ask? Good question! From the recap:

The rise of “embedded finance” promises to turn banking and insurance inside out by offering their services as an add-on to other purchases rather than remaining one-stop shops. This not only has the potential to upend these industries as we know them, but also transform our relationships with brands, as customer-loyalty programs morph into personal data–driven credit scores, and every transaction includes financing options. Banks will still be necessary to handle the sticky bits—including risk, regulation, and compliance—while fintech startups rush to offer tailored solutions for small businesses and gig economy entrepreneurs.

Finally, I hosted “You, Me, and the Metaverse,” a panel hosted by, yes, Meta, featuring the company’s VP of Americas Nada Stirratt, George Mason University sociologist James Witte, and Ed3 DAO co-founder Vriti Saraf. Click the link above for video highlights, or just read the description:

As business leaders look out at the exciting and expansive future of the internet, it remains an open question why the metaverse is gaining steam now. In this thought-provoking discussion, discover the changes and advances in technology, culture and commerce that are defining and driving this innovation in real time — and how these developments create an opportunity for businesses to get ahead of the curve.

Can’t wait for next year — although I’ll need more pants.

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October 30, 2022  |  permalink

Boston Globe: Here today. Gone tomorrow. Back someday because of climate change

“As the Sun Belt suffers from increasing vulnerability, the question is can New England benefit from that?” I asked The Boston Globe’s Cameron Sperance in his story exploring whether its climate resilience might spark a reversal of the region’s long-term outflow of residents.

Not so fast, said the other experts quoted. A much bigger factor than climate is the region’s dramatic shortfall of affordable housing — a problem made worse by the NIMBYism of local residents. What good does it do New England to be a climate haven if no one can move there? But that’s all the reason to start planning — and building — for tomorrow’s arrivals now, said my friend and colleague Parag Khanna, the CEO of our startup, Climate Alpha.

“You don’t want this kind of reckless climate gentrification overrunning places where you get crowding out and pricing ordinary people out of the market,” he said. “If you just think with a rigorous scientific lens, you should be thinking about the places that would be more resilient [and] pre-designing in the sense of sustainable technology and enlarging the capacity of those geographies to absorb greater populations.”

Click here to read more.

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October 12, 2022  |  permalink

The Construction Disruption Podcast

Isaiah Industries’ Todd Miller recently invited me on his “Construction Disruption” podcast for a wide-ranging chat. Listen to the embedded audio above or hit the link for the podcast platform of your choice. Here’s a little of what we talked about:

As our world grows and evolves, technology and humanity intersect in complex and often unexpected ways. Artificial intelligence is a prime example, as it improves alongside human understanding, making a powerful partner in work and play. We’ve already seen AI create art, write stories, and win at chess and Jeopardy. Who knows what the future holds?

Futurists like Greg Lindsay interpret the web of humanity and technology to predict the state of the world in the next five, fifty, and five hundred years. Greg is a journalist turned futurist, bringing a critical eye to issues like transportation, mixed reality, housing, and urban planning.

In this episode, Greg discusses solutions for affordable housing, troubling traffic statistics, worldwide responses to the pandemic, the air travel boom, and his experiences living across the globe.

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October 04, 2022  |  permalink

Moss Adams’ Building Opportunity 2022

The folks at Moss Adams asked me to return as the opening keynote of their Building Opportunity 2022 conference, in a reprise of my opening address two years, during the depths of the pandemic. Needless to say, things have been looking for cities since then. Watch my hour-long virtual address above or on YouTube; an overview is below.

Outmigration from major cities into more rural areas—and a new era of accessibility of goods and services through technology—are changing real estate as we know it. This, in turn, means rethinking who and what cities are for and what they should look like in the future.

Watch our on-demand webcast, The Future of Cities and Urban Planning. With more than a decade of writing and research on globalization, urbanism, innovation, and adaptability, urbanist and futurist speaker Greg Lindsay addresses the impact of recent trends on the future of cities.

This is one webcast in our four-part virtual 2022 Building Opportunity Conference.

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October 01, 2022  |  permalink

Introducing: the Cornell Tech Urban Tech Fellowship

I’m delighted to announce I’ve been selected as one of the inaugural Urban Tech Fellows at the Jacobs-Technion Cornell Institute’s Urban Tech Hub, which is located on Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. I’m excited to work with the hub’s director Michael Samuelian, research + program manager Nneka Sobers, and urbanist-in-residence Anthony Townsend — a former and future collaborator — along with my fellow fellows Paul Salama, Cara Eckholm, Mirtha Santana, and Rasmi Elasmar.

The focus of my year-long fellowship will be The Metaverse Metropolis, which you can read about in more detail here. Watch this site for additional details in the coming year!

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September 26, 2022  |  permalink

“Emerging Disruptive Technologies,” WMDs, and the future of NATO

Earlier this year, my friend Brian David Johnson — a fellow futurist and director of the Arizona State University Threatcasting Lab — recruited me to help write and edit a report for NATO(!) on the implications of “emerging disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and cryptography, robotics, and so on. He had assembled a group of interdisciplinary experts to imagine, scheme, and write stories using his “threatcasting” technique of concretely imagining how people might respond to future threats, and in turn, how to mitigate them. Here are the research questions they were asked:

What are the future implications of Emerging Disruptive Technologies (EDTs) on the future of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) warfare? How might EDTs increase the lethality and effectiveness of WMDs in kinetic warfare? How can civic leaders and public servants prepare for and mitigate projected threats?

Given these were being asked under the long shadow of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this was heavy stuff. The final report has just been published, and I’m proud to be list as a co-author alongside Brian, the United States Military Academy’s Natalie Vanatta and Jason C. Brown, and the historian James Carrott.

The report is available for download here, but here’s a brief excerpt from the introduction to give you a flavor of our findings, and why we should all take the threat of nuclear weapon use in Ukraine very, very seriously:

In the coming decade, state and nonstate adversaries will use EDTs to attack systems and populations that may initiate and accelerate existing geopolitical conflict escalation. EDTs are expected to be used both in the initial attack or escalation as well as a part of the detection and decisionmaking process. Due to the speed of EDTs, expected confusion, and common lack of human oversight, attacks will also be incorrectly attributed, which has the capacity to escalate rapid geopolitical conflict to global military conflict, and ultimately, to the use of nuclear WMDs. The use of EDTs in the shadow of nuclear WMDs is also expected to create an existential threat to possible adversaries, pushing them to “lower the bar” of acceptability for using nuclear WMDs. EDTs will enable and embolden insider threats, both willing and unknowing, to effect geopolitical conflict on a global scale.

In addition, the combination of multiple EDTs when used together for attacks will create WMD effects on populations and governments. Furthermore, EDTs will be used by adversaries to target and destabilize critical infrastructure systems, such as food, energy, and transportation, etc. that will have a broader effect on populations and governments. EDTs will enable adversaries to perpetrate a long-game attack, where the effect and attribution of the attack may not be detected for an extended period—if ever.

To combat these future threats, organizations will need to conduct research and intelligence gathering paired with exploratory research and development to better understand the state of EDTs and their potential impacts. With this information, organizations will need to conduct collaborative “wargaming” and planning to explore a range of possible and potential threats of EDTs. The knowledge gained from all of these activities will inform future training and best practices to prepare for and address these threats.

Organizations will also need to increase their investments in EDT related domains, necessitating countries to not only change how they fight, but also evolve their thinking about deterrence. Expanded regulation, policy making, and political solidarity among members will take on an increasingly more significant and expanded role. Broader government, military, and civilian cooperation will be needed to disrupt and mitigate some of these future threats in conjunction with broader public awareness. All of these actions will place a higher value on cooperation and shared resiliency among NATO members.

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September 18, 2022  |  permalink

Denver Post: With Colorado “getting strange,” Michigan may be the place to be as climate changes

My fall speaking tour kicked off out west this week with the RE/MAX Commercial Symposium in Tucson on Tuesday, followed by a short hop to Denver for the Colorado Commercial Real Estate Symposium. (Are you sensing a theme?) My talk in Denver was covered by The Denver Post, which made me sound maybe a little more alarmist than I had intended. (Okay, it was exactly the level of alarmism I was aiming for.) From their story:

People who relocated during the pandemic favored areas at higher risk of disruption due to climate change, but they may come to regret those moves over the long term, futurist Greg Lindsay told a gathering of the Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors on Thursday morning.

“Americans are moving in the wrong direction,” Lindsay said of migration patterns during the pandemic, and even before. “Markets are underpricing climate risk.”

Wrong as in moving from cooler northern coastal areas and the upper Midwest to the Sunbelt. Wrong as in moving to Arizona and Nevada, popular states that suffer from ever-increasing temperatures and worsening drought. Wrong as in flocking in large numbers to coastal Florida and Miami, where rising water levels could submerge vast swaths of land in coming decades if powerful hurricanes don’t scrape them first.

Read the rest here.

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About Greg Lindsay

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Greg Lindsay is a generalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a 2022-2023 urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, where he leads The Metaverse Metropolis — a new initiative exploring the implications of augmented reality at urban scale. He is also a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, a senior advisor to Climate Alpha, and a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative.

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Articles by Greg Lindsay

-----  |  May 1, 2023

2023 Speaking Topics

CityLab  |  April 25, 2023

The Line Is Blurring Between Remote Workers and Tourists

CityLab  |  December 7, 2021

The Dark Side of 15-Minute Grocery Delivery

Fast Company  |  June 2021

Why the Great Lakes need to be the center of our climate strategy

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

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May 23, 2023

Fast Company & Siemens: The New Skills and Roles Transforming Manufacturing

May 10, 2023

DEPT: Prepare To Pioneer

May 08, 2023

CoMotion LIVE: The Future of Air Travel

April 30, 2023

The Inaugural Metaverse & Cities Summit

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