The scars and pox of the aging apartments and housing units under the purview of the New York City Housing Authority don’t immediately convey the idea of innovation. NYCHA, the city’s largest landlord, serving nearly 1 in 16 New Yorkers, has literally seen its buildings collapse after decades of deferred maintenance and poor stewardship. All things considered, this abandoned subsidized residence sits in the midst of what local planners have called “demolition through neglect.” It would take an estimated $40 billion or more, at least $180,000 per unit, to restore the buildings to good repair.
Years ago there was evidence of innovation hidden in these units – in the kitchens. By the late 1990s, NYCHA realized that the existing refrigerators in many units were wildly inefficient, outdated and costly to the agency. It held a successful contest for appliance manufacturers asking them to make smaller, more efficient apartment-sized units. The winner, Maytag, gained admission to NYCHA and other housing authorities and sold 150,000 units of his new Magic Chef model between 1995 and 2003.
Now NYCHA wants to do the same with heating and cooling. The Clean Heat for All Challenge asks manufacturers to develop low-cost, easy-to-install heat pump technologies for building renovation. The commitment to the agency, the winning company, and to society itself can be huge – and good for the planet.
After all, it is much more sustainable to renovate existing buildings than to tear them down and build new ones. Read the full story.
The must reads
I’ve scoured the internet to find the funniest/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology today.
1 Amazon Wants Alexa To Mimic The Voices Of Your Dead Loved Ones
Yes, it sounds like a leaked Black Mirror script. (CNBC)
+ How the data of your life means that a version of you could live forever. (MIT Technology Review)
2 Finland is sealing its spent fuel deep underground
It is the first country to build a complete deep geological storage facility. (Economist $)
+ Zap Energy, a fusion startup, claims to have injected plasma into a reactor core. (NYT$)
+ Can the US solar panel industry bounce back? (slate $)
3 Recession? Which recession?
The economy is slowing, but if we do end up in a recession, it might not be as bad as previously believed. (New York $)
Defining a recession isn’t easy yet, but we’ll know as soon as it’s there. (Bloomberg $)
4 Cash is on the brink of death
But even though fewer people are using it, it’s still a lifeline for vulnerable people. (NY Mag)
+ An elegy for money: the technology we may never replace. (MIT Technology Review)
+ In honor of the dollar bill. (MIT Technology Review)
5 How a Group Dedicated to Canceling Missionaries Was Canceled
No White Saviors have been accused of similar misdeeds as the rescuers it targeted. (Input)
+ How the AI industry benefits from disasters. (MIT Technology Review)
6 Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Rule The Metaverse
And its current monopolies should be read as warning signs. (Time $)
+ Meta no longer sponsors US birthday commemorations. (WSJ$)
+ Facebook’s Oversight Board urges greater transparency. (WP$)
7 Alibaba has its sights set on South Asia
After conquering China, it wants to expand into new pastures. (FT$)
8 How Bored Apes Overshadowed Its Crypto Origins
And became a cultural movement in the process. (The block)
+ Cryptogame Axie Infinity could take advantage of the Apes’ luck. (Rest of the world)
+ Finally GPU prices are falling. (motherboard)
9 These little robotic fish are removing microplastics from the ocean
But we would need a LOT of it to make a difference. (the guard)
10 Dissociation Music Reflects The Gloomy State Of Our World Right Now
Fans enjoy disconnecting from reality. (Pitchfork)