News round-up - April
Written by 30 April 2013on
World Cities Network rounds-up its favourite articles and features from across the globe. This month's summary includes Las Vegas: the reinvention of Sin City as a sustainable city,
how businesses are sleepwalking into a resource crunch and building cities of the future now.
Las Vegas: the reinvention of Sin City as a sustainable city
The Las Vegas strip, home to the world's best known casinos where wastefulness is not just encouraged but is a key part of the business model, has been reinventing itself over the past few years as a model of sustainability. But is it really possible for the infamous strip, that according to legend is so lit up it can be seen from outer space, ever be truly green?
Las Vegas (Spanish for "the meadows") was founded as a city in 1905 because, ironically, the cluster of water springs in an area that was mostly desert made it an ideal rest and refuelling stop. But this water supply which was more than adequate to support the 800 residents that lived in Las Vegas just over a century ago soon dried up when the gaming industry caused the population to explode. Now the city is struggling to meet the water and energy demands of its over 500,000 citizens, never mind the 40 million tourists who visit the city every year, most of whom come to enjoy the Strip's excesses.
Building cities of the future now
Around the world new cities are being built while those we have lived in for centuries are being upgraded for the future.It is partly a reaction to over-crowding and pollution and partly because in an ever-connected world it makes increasing sense to hook entire cities up to the network.A smarter city may mean one that uses data on traffic to ease congestion or one that aims to join up services to provide better information for citizens. For many it is about making cities greener and more efficient.
How businesses are sleepwalking into a resource crunch
Earlier this year, The Living Report found that as a whole, humanity extracted resources more than 52 percent faster than they could be regenerated. And demand for these resources is expanding too. According to the US National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2030 report, demand for food, water, and energy will grow by approximately 35, 40 and 50% respectively by 2030, owing to an increase in the global population and changing consumption patterns. The impact of this crunch, is potentially huge for businesses, dramatically influencing the products and services they provide, and the prices of the products they sell.
A Nasty, Epic Real Estate Battle With Stakes 102 Stories High
On the day it opened in 1931, the Empire State Building carved out a special place on the New York skyline, but it has also been at the center of a succession of battles for control by equally larger-than-life figures, including Donald J. Trump and Leona Helmsley.
Now, the 102-story tower is the prize in yet another epic battle, which will play out in court starting on Monday.
On one side are the New York real estate barons Peter L. Malkin and his son Anthony E. Malkin, who control the landmark tower but are minority owners. They are within a whisker of landing the deal of a lifetime, valued at $5.2 billion, that would offer to the public shares in 19 properties in the New York area that they oversee, including the crown jewel, the Empire State Building.
he offering would catapult the Malkin family into the elite of Manhattan real estate, valuing their stake at an estimated $730 million and installing Anthony Malkin as chairman of a major new company, Empire State Realty Trust.
Cities get smart: urban innovation - in pictures
Forget flying cars and robots, the cities of the near future will be getting 'smart' using a combination of high- and low-tech solutions. From mixed-use bins and Wi-Fi lampposts, to bike lanes and vertical farming, here are 10 of the best prospective and recent urban innovations.