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22 Dec 2016

Editor's note: The Sidewalk Weekly newsletter is a day early this week and will be off next week for the holidays. Please reimagine the future of cities responsibly this New Year's. See you in 2017!

We tend to think of health as a medical problem, but the roots of many health issues are social or environmental factors that can’t be seen from within the doctor’s office. Many of these non-medical factors are closely tied to the urban environment — things like unreliable transportation options, poor air quality, food deserts, and high housing costs.

Sidewalk’s Care Lab has been thinking about new ways to approach urban healthcare delivery in the digital era. In a new Sidewalk Talk post, they discuss how the right data and tools can help care of the future go beyond reactively treating medical conditions to proactively improving "whole person" health. The result could be a model of care that's more accessible, personalized, contextual, affordable, and most of all, equitable.

  • Bonus read: The New Front Line of Public Health (CityLab)
  • Sidewalk Sidenote: The Care Lab is looking for an entrepreneur-in-residence.

What we're thinking

Best of the blog 2016: A heartfelt thanks to the 8,000 (and counting) urbanists and technologists who have followed our Sidewalk Talk blog on Medium. We look back on a fun first year with a list of the five most popular posts, and look forward to continuing the conversation in 2017:

  1. Reimagining cities from the internet up: Over the past year, Sidewalk Labs conducted a detailed thought experiment on the future of cities. Here’s what we learned, and how we hope to accelerate urban innovation.
  2. The First Principles of Urbanism: Part I & Part II
  3. S2 cells and space-filling curves: We built an open geospatial library for all the civic hackers out there.
  4. Q&A: What smart cities can learn from Singapore’s Smart Nation
  5. Sidewalk held a two-day engineering hackathon. Here’s what we built.

What we're doing

If you couldn't make our Sidewalk Talk: Idea Tour on housing affordability this month, or if you want to hear any of the talks that weren't on your idea tour itinerary for the evening, you can now watch all six idea sessions at our YouTube channel (including the one by Dr. Andrea Chegut of MIT, above). More home reads:

  • Tiny houses are getting a big boost of legitimacy (Curbed)
  • The Tent Cities of San Francisco (NYT)
  • Can These Micro-Apartments Help End SF's Homelessness Crisis? (CoExist)

Merry Wi-Fi: LinkNYC's free call option extends to the North Pole for the next couple days, with an app that lets your kids (or you — we won't tell) call Santa with any last-minute gift requests (SI Live). After Christmas you can tweet @LinkNYC #LinkNYC2017 to submit a new year's wish for possible broadcast on Link kiosks across the city. We know ours: no more digital divides. Bonus read:

  • Closing the Digital Divide Isn’t Easy — But We Have to Try (TechReview)

(Image: Jason Diaz)

What we're reading

  • Old town: What Disney’s city of the future, built to look like the past, says about the present (The Economist). Richard Florida: Did Jane Jacobs Predict the Rise of Trump? (CityLab). Shenzhen: The city known for world-building factories is becoming a global community of creatives (PopSci). The new suburbia Is more urban (NYT), aka more walkable (NYT).
  • New economy: White House report: AI, Automation, and the Economy (White House). After a century of creating machines, why are there still so many jobs? (TEDx). Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless. (NYT). How Digital Nomads Went From Niche to Normal (Backchannel). How WeWork Capitalizes On Aging Architecture (CoDesign).
  • Data viz: Mapping the Shadows of Every NYC Building (NYT). The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint (Reuters). To Tackle Big Urban Issues, This Architect Became A Data Designer (CoDesign). Treepedia: Urban green canopies in real-time (MIT Senseable City Lab). A World of Surveillance Doesn’t Always Help to Catch a Thief (NYT).
  • Uber oops: Uber admits to self-driving car 'problem' in bike lanes as safety concerns mount (Guardian). Then stops its self-driving pilot in SF (TechCrunch). Uber's Loss Exceeds $800 Million in Third Quarter (Bloomberg). NACTO's Linda Bailey: The dangers of partially automated driving cars (The Hill). A delightful Lyft video by Oscar winner John Kahrs (YouTube).
  • On the road: One way to ease LA traffic: shared parking (LA Times). ICYMI: How shared parking can improve cities (Sidewalk Talk). Highways aren't enough to remake the Rust Belt (Politico). The delivery challenges of African e-tailers (Tech Review). The Tech That Gets A Package From Warehouse To Your House (FastCo). Study: "Programmable cement" is here (Materials).
  • Long: Tech's obligation to experiment (MIT Media Lab).
  • Links: The best tech reporting of 2016 (Recode).
"[W]hen people’s lives are improved with technology, an entire city becomes better as a result."
— Tom Cochran, chief digital strategist at Acquia (CityLab)
Copyright © 2016 Sidewalk Labs, All rights reserved.
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