The scars and marks of aging apartments and housing under the New York City Housing Authority’s trusteeship do not immediately communicate the idea of innovation. The largest landlord in the city, home to nearly 1 in 16 New Yorkers, NYCHA has seen its buildings literally crumble after decades of deferred maintenance and mismanagement. All told, this abandoned subsidized housing is in the midst of what local planners have called “negligent demolition.” It would take about $40 billion or more, at least $180,000 per unit, to restore the buildings to good condition.
Years ago there was evidence of innovation hidden inside these units – in the kitchens. In the late 1990s, NYCHA realized that the existing refrigerators in many units were extremely inefficient, aging, and expensive for the agency. He held a successful competition for appliance makers, asking them to create smaller, more efficient apartment-sized units. The winner, Maytag, gained access to NYCHA and other housing authorities, and sold 150,000 units of its 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 retrofits. The stakes for the agency, the winning company, and for society itself could be enormous 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.
I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s funniest/important/scariest/fascinating stories about technology.
1 Amazon wants Alexa to mimic the voices of your deceased loved ones
Yes, it looks like a leaked Black Mirror script. (CNBC)
+ How your life data means a version of you could live forever. (MIT Technology Review)
2 Finland seals its spent nuclear fuel deep underground
It is the first country to build a complete deep geological disposal 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? What recession?
The economy is slowing, but if we tip into recession, it may not be as deadly as previously believed. (New Yorkers $)
+ Defining a recession isn’t easy enough, but we’ll know once it’s here. ($Bloomberg)
4 The Money Is Dying
But even though fewer people are using it, it’s still a lifesaver for vulnerable people. (NYMag)
+ An Elegy for Money: The Technology We May Never Replace. (MIT Technology Review)
+ In praise 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 against the aid workers they targeted. (To input)
+ How the AI industry is profiting from the disaster. (MIT Technology Review)
6 Mark Zuckerberg Must Not Be Allowed To Rule The Metaverse
And its current monopolies should be read as harbingers. (Time $)
+ Meta no longer sponsors United States birthday commemorations. (WSJ$)
+ Facebook’s supervisory board is pushing for more transparency. (WP$)
7 Alibaba has set its sights on South Asia
After conquering China, it seeks to expand to new horizons. (FT$)
8 How Bored Apes Overshadowed Its Crypto Origins
And became a cultural movement in the process. (The block)
+ Crypto game Axie Infinity could benefit from the good fortune of the monkeys. (Rest of the world)
+ At least GPU prices are coming down, finally. (Motherboard)
9 These tiny robotic fish are removing microplastics from the ocean
But we would need MANY of them to make a difference. (The Guardian)
10 Dissociation music reflects the dark state of our world right now
Fans revel in detaching from reality. (Fork)