Circulate on Fridays: Five things about the future of cities

We’re joining you for another quick-fire Circulate on Fridays, this week includes London’s Uber ban, China’s “sponge cities”, what would happen if you turned all the traffic lights off? And much more!

Let’s start with five things about the future of cities

  1. Transport for London (TFL) has released a statement announcing that Uber will not be awarded a new private hire license citing concerns about background checks on drivers and reports of criminal offences. Needless to say Uber is appealing against the ban, but either way the ‘poster child’ of the digitally-enabled asset sharing economy has been dealt a serious blow. This is just the beginning of the story, and how it develops could have significant impacts on future cities.
  2. “Keep the molecules in play”, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Ashima Sukhdev has been in the US at GreenBiz’s Verge17 conference talking about what the circular economy means for cities. Listen to this podcast, and find out more about the recently released, Cities in the circular economy: The role of digital technologywhich was jointly published by the Foundation and Google.
  3. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we switched all of our traffic lights off? The city of Amsterdam recently trialled it at a busy junction. Somewhat surprisingly, they found that it made journeys faster and interactions more pleasant, the Guardian reports that the city now intends to copy the approach across the city.
  4. Find out how China’s “sponge city initiative” aims to soak up more than 70% of all rainwater through the use of permeable surfaces and well-designed infrastructure.
  5. Three of the world’s larger car manufacturers are aiming to unveil a fully autonomous vehicle within the next five years. Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced a collaboration to co-develop electric self-driving cars. The group has set out the clearest timetable to market for autonomous vehicles yet, confirming that a radical transformation in the mobility sector is clear underway.

Two more quick stories

How do you solve problems like a designer? Watch this brilliant explanation of design thinking by IDEO CEO Tim Brown.

Meanwhile, Aquafil has announced a first US facility, where it reclaims carpets and fabricate fibres for reuse in the fashion industry. Find out more about that innovation here.


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The Author

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]

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