October 30, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: China’s Blockchain Chicken Farms with Xiaowei Wang

October 26, 2020. By now it’s a cliché to note more than half the world’s people live in cities. But how does the other half live? That’s the question tackled by both the Guggenheim Museum’s “Countryside: The Future” exhibit and Blockchain Chicken Farm author Xiaowei Wang, who spent several years exploring the intersection of urban appetites and new technologies with China’s farmers. Wang joins us to discuss how the scale of China’s cities requires enormous food production to match, which works until there’s a pandemic — and it’s not the one you’re thinking of.

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October 21, 2020  |  permalink

The Millennial Dilemma Executive Summary

The Millennial Dilemma is a seminal study exploring the future of North American cities by forecasting where the Millennial generation will live and why.

Millennials have proven themselves to be a resilient generation, struggling to make the best choices for themselves and their families within the constraints forced upon them. In the wake of COVID-19, they are being tested like never before.‘The Millennial Dilemma’ aims to decode some of these choices into their constituent variables so that readers of this report — public officials, policymakers, private actors, housing advocates, real estate professionals, entrepreneurs, and millennials themselves — might imagine a different America, one more responsive to their needs.

We summarize current trends, explode myths about lifestyle preferences, and explore opportunities for policymakers to address severe deficits in housing, childcare, and transportation.With the millennial generation representing 75 million people in the US alone, what impact could this trend have on the future of cities?

Led by NewCities Director of Applied Research, Greg Lindsay, the report explores trends in five focus cities — Columbus, OH, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Nashville, and Washington, D.C. — various market-driven responses, and policy recommendations for the next American administration.

Click here to download the report, or watch the Executive Summary above.

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October 21, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: Wall Street Wants You to Rent Forever with Ryan Dezember

October 14, 2020. After the housing crash, private equity firms bought foreclosed homes by the thousands, removing them from the market and creating a new class of affluent renters. With another wave of evictions about to break, those firms are back at it again — this time while prices are rising, not falling. The Wall Street Journal reporter and Underwater author Ryan Dezember joins us to explain how these companies see the market and what it means for the future of American housing post-pandemic.

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October 18, 2020  |  permalink

92nd St. Y: Moving Us in the Gotham of Tomorrow


(On Oct. 14th, the 92nd St. Y invited to once again host a session at its annual “City of Tomorrow” conference, this time with New York City Transit interim president Sarah Feinberg, Lime CEO Wayne Ting, and SOM partner Colin Koop. Click here or the image above to watch the session. A short description is below.)

How will NYC be moving its denizens —projected to be over nine million by 2040 — in the decades ahead? It’s no secret that our airports, train stations and subways are due for much-needed large-scale overhauls. From Grand Central to Penn-Moynihan Station, LaGuardia to JFK Airport, and below ground to above, mass transit is at a pivotal moment. Along with these infrastructure changes, next-gen technology and the city’s mission to reduce carbon emissions and congestion, our metropolis’ transportation ecosystem is at an inflection point.

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October 18, 2020  |  permalink

The Fast Company Innovation Festival: A New Urban Utopia?


(On Oct. 8th, Fast Company invited me to co-curate and moderate a session at this year’s Innovation Festival on the post-pandemic future of cities. I was joined by the McKinsey Global Institute’s Jaane Remes, Brave New Home author Diana Lind, CBRE’s chief economist Richard Barkham, and Honeywell Building Technologies CEO Vimal Kapur. Click here or the image above to watch the session, or here for an extended recap. A short description is below.) 

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended American cities. Downtowns have become ghost towns thanks to new work-from-anywhere policies. Food delivery and e-commerce are booming (though supply chains are being pushed to the max). Now that their residents no longer need to commute to work or to the mall, how are cities reinventing themselves? Some have taken this opportunity to close streets to car traffic in favor of outdoor dining, recreation, and retail—a new urban model hailed as the “15-minute city.” Others are exploring how to build much-needed new housing through relaxed zoning and new technology, and still others are developing plans to convert office towers into a new generation of “live-work-play” buildings. Cities have survived all manner of unexpected challenges, only to rise again using a mix of creativity and innovation. What will cities of the future look like? Fast Company and Honeywell took a fascinating look at the new urban landscape at the 2020 Fast Company Innovation Festival.

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October 13, 2020  |  permalink

Nomad Visas and the Henley Global Passport Index


(Henley & Partners — the firm that all-but invented “investment migration” — asked me to contribute a short essay to the report accompanying the Q4 update of the Henley Global Passport Index, a measure of the world’s passports in terms of international mobility. I wrote about the rise of “nomad visas” and what it says about a new class of post-Covid expats. Reposted below.)

Estonia may be best known — at least for those in the know — as the nation that rebooted itself in the cloud. Boasting the world’s most ambitious and secure Internet infrastructure, the nation issues its citizens digital identity cards with access to thousands of services — including paying taxes in minutes. In 2015, the government elected to make these available to non-citizens. E-residency entitles entrepreneurs to bank or incorporate in Estonia (and thus within the EU) but not to enter the country, and today there are around 70,000 e-residents of Estonia who have no intention of relocating there, including me.

Originally pitched to global nomads and free agents, e-residency proved popular enough that last year Estonia began hinting at issuing a one-year ‘nomad visa’ offering entry to the country itself. After the pandemic hit, overnight the world’s knowledge workers became temporary professional nomads, and the disparity between national responses threw into stark relief the comparative advantages of alternative citizenship — especially for Americans suddenly locked out of much of the world.

Whereas once investment migrants were typically high-net-worth individuals in search of greater mobility, today an increasing number are well-compensated professionals desperately seeking a Plan B for affordable healthcare and their children’s education, at least until a vaccine becomes available. (For instance, I, along with many other Americans, now reside in Canada. According to recent reports, nearly a third of Americans are threatening to move to Canada if November’s presidential election doesn’t go their way.) The increasing desire for alternative options has in turn given rise to a new class of visas that may prove to be the gateway for a new breed of middle-class migrants who are keenly aware of other nations’ successes (or failures).

By the time Estonia began accepting nomad applications in August, for example, it was no longer the first — Barbados had unveiled its one-year ‘Welcome Stamp’ in July, attracting more than 1,000 inquiries the first week. Bermuda and Georgia were not far behind, both finding plenty of takers. (This is in addition to the doubling of Americans inquiring about secondary citizenship in the first half of the year.)

Where digital nomads differ from classic investment migrants is in the talent they bring to their hosts. Nomads are invited to reside and consume, funneling overseas salaries into the economies of Tallinn and Tbilisi. Is this the new frontier of the global creative class, wooed by governments as they hop from one pandemic- and climate- crisis oasis to the next?

Investment migration paved the way for competitive residency, but once again the benefits of innovation are trickling down — EUR 1 million or even USD 100,000 for alternative citizenship is too steep a price for many; EUR 100 for a year in Estonia is the perfect price to give one a taste. After all, once one has adjusted to working- and schooling-from-home, why stop at leaving Manhattan for the mountains when one can decamp to a country where the virus is under control? Nomad visas are only the start.

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October 05, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: Black Housing in America with Melvin Mitchell

September 30, 2020. The history of black housing in America is one of segregation, stigma, and wealth destruction, not creation. Architect Melvin Mitchell, CEO of BryantMitchell, calls for a new black-owned and controlled corner of the housing industry, one capable of creating household wealth for black communities rather than funneling it elsewhere. Whether opportunity zones done right or “buying the block,” what are the policies needed to make that happen? To jump ahead to Melvin Mitchell’s interview, skip to 4min15sec.

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September 29, 2020  |  permalink

The CoMotion Podcast Returns as Fast Forward

The CoMotion Podcast returns with a new name — Fast Forward — new guests like this week’s Gabriella Gomez Mont, and the same old irreverence, courtesy of co-host Jonah Bliss. Tune in above to listen to us dissect Nikola Motor’s spiraling scandals, Amazon Ring’s flying drone dystopia, and whether cities can really make a go of the 15-minute city.


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September 27, 2020  |  permalink

CREtech Consulting Report: Reimagining Cities and the Entire Built World


My friends and colleagues at CREtech have published a new report on the themes we’re exploring through the firm’s consulting practice. Here’s my contribution to our recent Webinar:

The importance of physical proximity has changed, which of course impacts big cities far and wide. “If proximity to one’s job is no longer a significant factor in deciding where to live, for example, then the appeal of the suburbs wanes; we could be heading towards a world in which existing city centres and far-flung “new villages” rise in prominence, while traditional commuter belts fade away,” according to The Guardian.

The middle ground is proximity cities, a blend of suburbs and urban. Greg Lindsay, Consultant at CREtech Global Innovation Consulting Practice, is “closely following the rise of what [he calls the] ‘Proximity City’—our new hyper-local existence within 15 minutes of home.” He continues, “It’s a city most easily navigated on foot or by bicycle, one in which real estate has to do double- or triple-duty as live/work/play and formerly dormant places like parking and street space are repurposed as productive assets. Paris, Milan, and Montréal are leading the way, but there’s a real opportunity to find the long-elusive happy medium between American cities and suburbs along this model.”

There’s more where that came from at the upcoming CREtech Real Estate Sustainability Summit on September 30th at 12:40 PM EDT. Register here and tune in!

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September 27, 2020  |  permalink

The Big Rethink: How to Future with Madeline Ashby

September 23, 2020. Forget predicting the future — how do we create the future we want?  That’s the central lesson of How to Future, the new book co-authored by this week’s guest, Toronto-based science fiction author Madeline Ashby. She also explains why you shouldn’t “doomscroll,” how to prod public officials into imagining another world is possible, and why one person’s urban utopia may be another’s dystopia.

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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


October 30, 2020

The Big Rethink: China’s Blockchain Chicken Farms with Xiaowei Wang

October 21, 2020

The Millennial Dilemma Executive Summary

October 21, 2020

The Big Rethink: Wall Street Wants You to Rent Forever with Ryan Dezember

October 18, 2020

92nd St. Y: Moving Us in the Gotham of Tomorrow

» More blog posts