Digital Land Rush.
- Digital commerce has already doubled the value of prime warehousing land to meet same-day shipping demand. A less noticeable digital impact on physical space has been the increase in value for the movie-studio real estate necessary to produce a record 495 scripted series for all the various streaming and traditional media companies.
- The value of film production real estate drove News Corp to retain ownership of its physical movie studio even as Disney acquired nearly everything else. An LA Real Estate exec noted "There is an absolute arms race to get content out, which is overtaxing all of our real estate needed to support it."
- For anyone who remembers what cities were like in the 1990s and 2000s, the American Mall was a villain of urbanism: Junkspace, as Rem Koolhaas described in 2001. As digital replaces physical commerce, it is surprising to see the American Mall rehabilitated in a preservation narrative. Some historians are hoping to preserve Horton Plaza in San Diego, a postmodernist design by Jerde, as that mall undergoes gut-renovation into tech office space.
- Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang has released a policy position called The American Mall Act to direct $6 Billion into reviving failing malls into productive uses.
- Despite the narrative of inevitable decline surrounding the American Mall, it's worth noting that locations in high-income areas continue to grow and expand.
- The current nostalgia for the Mall is perhaps best shown in the latest season of Stranger Things, which takes place largely in a mall set in 1985 Indiana. Set designers found an abandoned wing of a failing mall in the Atlanta suburbs and carefully rebuilt it to 1980s design standards, including a vintage Orange Julius, Waldenbooks and retro The Gap.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- One of the biggest hazards to shared electric scooters and bikes has been the tendency to be thrown into bodies of water. Though, this week, the water came for the scooters. Dramatic flooding in Washington D.C. meant that shared mobility operators had to rush around the city to remove their hardware from the rising water.
- Ikea now has a 100% electric vehicle fleet for deliveries in Shanghai, and plans to reach the same milestone in New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Amsterdam by next year, and worldwide by 2025.
- The last VW in the world rolled off the assembly line in Puebla Mexico, after 81 years of production, through different models and various production sites.
- See images from inside the Alstom factory in Hornell, NY producing the next generation of Acela trains for Amtrak. The trainsets are a custom variant of the French TGV and enter service in 2021. The sets are lighter, faster, and have a higher seating capacity than current trains. They are the first new trains designed since the debut of Acela in 2000, after which the current trainset will be retired.
- This Minnesotan may be interested in some government-surplus Acela trains. He recently bought a surplus monorail from the Minneapolis Zoo for $1,000 and uses it to camp in his friend's backyard.
- The entire Newark Airport AirTrain, which is a monorail system, will be fully retired and replaced after ~25 years of service. The system has had maintenance and reliability problems nearly since it opened.
- The ongoing grounding of the ~170-seat Boeing 737-Max has caused airlines to re-assign other aircraft to accommodate flights. Emirates has assigned a 500-seat A380 to support subsidiary FlyDubai's Muscat route. The 40-minute flight is only 5 mins longer than it takes to clean the aircraft between flights.
- I'm not sure where the 387 delivered 737-Max aircraft are currently being stored, but this is an interesting look into what goes into storing aircraft at a special facility in Tucson, AZ. For aircraft that are being stored for disposal, a lot goes into processes that maximize the value of scrap parts that relate to trackable authenticity and certified airworthiness.
- Beijing's Daxing Airport is nearing completion, and plans to open in September, completing a design by architect Zaha Hadid. The coordination of which airlines would move which flights from the current Beijing Capital airport has been filled with political jockeying.
- Denver airport still remains the only fully-ground up commercial airport in the United States with runways and terminals purpose-built to jet-aviation standards, opening in 1995. While other airports grew and modified from infrastructure created for propeller airplanes, Denver's design and engineering are markedly different. So different, in fact, that there are numerous conspiracy theories about the airport's design, which the airport's PR team fully embraces.
- American Airlines is using Eero Saarinen's Mobile Lounges to deplane two arrivals per day during peak season in Philadelphia. To my knowledge, Philly never had mobile lounges previously, so I'm curious where they came from.
- NYC Transit runs on a 30-year old operating system
- NYTimes created a data visualization to show how reliable the subway travel times are on all possible NYC Subway trips. The reliability of travel time impacts how much buffer time people build into their travel.
- Amazon announced they would spend $700 Million by 2025 to retrain 100,000 employees (out of 300,000 total currently) for higher skilled roles, such as IT technicians and data scientists. The messaging around the initiative seems to address preparing their workforce for the impact of continued automation.
- Amazon gamified warehouse picking for their fulfillment center workers.
- Using Natural Language Processing on the sequence of machine alarms to predict CNC machine breakdowns.
- The NY Federal Reserve offers free tours of their gold vaults
- Steinway Pianos offers tours of their NYC manufacturing site, active since the 1880s. But hurry, half of the site will be converted into a movie studio.
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