Anthony Townsend's blog

Anthony Townsend is a research director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto, California.

Therapeutic Cities

I'm reposting this from my Future of Cities blog. You're all invited to join our conversation over there: it's sort of for urban studies what Planetizen is for urban planning and design.

Some of you may know that my wife and I welcomed a little girl to the world last month (Stella!). Despite the fact that my mother was a nurse for 40 years - or perhaps because of it - I've never spent a lot of time around hospitals. In fact, like many of you I share an aversion to the centralization of sick people.

Airports as a Brake on Global City Growth

It seems that global cities across the world are running up against an unforeseen brake on their future growth - airport and airspace congestion.

The Future of Presence

I spent a few days last week in Newcastle, England - a real gem of a town for tech history enthusiasts and urbanists. Newcastle is where the first steam trains and railways were built at the dawn of the industrial revolution. It was the demonstration of Robert Stephenson's Rocket in 1829 in Newcastle that you might mark as the beginning of mass mechanical mobility.

Wireless, Connected, Productive Transit - Formula for Hyper-Sprawl?

There are lots of Wi-Fi buses popping up in Northern California. The Google shuttle from San Francisco to the Valley has been running for a while and I think Yahoo! has a similar service, but I saw this Wi-Fi enabled AC Transit bus (that's Alameda County folks) crossing the Dumbarton Bridge last week. Apparently, the service is being subsidized by a grant from the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency.

New York Gets Cell Phone Service in the Subways... Sort of... Someday Soon...

It's the talk of the town today. The Metropolitan Transit Authority, after years of dithering has finally signed a contract to build out a shared cell phone infrastructure inside the underground portions of the subway system. Sort of.

According to the New York Times, "[t]he cellphone network will start in six downtown Manhattan stations in two years. Once it is shown to be working properly, Transit Wireless will have four more years to outfit the rest of the underground stations."

Thats six years to completion, folks. Awesome.

Should Hong Kong and Shenzhen Merge? Tectonic Movements Towards a Regional Approach in the Pearl River Delta

The Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a think tank close to Hong Kong governor Donald Tsang, has just released a report arguing that it might make sense for Hong Kong and Shenzhen to merge into a single metropolitan entity. According to The Economist Cities Guide email update (one of the magazine's best services for subscribers and a most for global urban trendwatches):

Facebook takes over Palo Alto - Valleywag

Valleywag, the uber-obnoxious Bay Area gossip blog has a great piece on the impact a rapidly-expanding Facebook.com has on downtown Palo Alto (The Institute is right across the street!)

A New Blog on Economic Development in New York City

The gang at Appleseed, one of New York City's most interesting boutique economic development consultancies, has just launched a new blog. This is looking to be a must-read, as founder Hugh O'Neill has been one of the most accurate analysts and forecasters of economic trends in the New York region for many years now, and a strategist bar none. If his first post, a take on New York City's current commercial real estate market is a harbinger of things to come, I suspect we'll be back for more.

The Future of Cities Community Launches at the Institute for the Future

Some readers may be familiar with the TELECOM-CITIES listserv that I've run for the last ten years, sharing discussions about how information and communications technology is transforming cities and the process of urbanization. Once upon a time back in 1998, 1999, TELECOM-CITIES was an active community of researchers trying to figure out what fiber optics and cell phones and dot-com startups meant for the future of cities. Over the years, the list has maintained that focus, but growth of readership has been stagnant for years.

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