Category Archives: FastCompany Design

The Airbnb For Affordable Housing Is Here

Nesterly, a new platform that pairs older homeowners with young renters, is riding a wave of interest in multigenerational living.

Brenda Atchison’s home in the Boston suburb of Roxbury has been in her family since 1946, and she’s lived there for nearly her entire life. At 66 years old, she’s an empty nester–she describes her house as rooms that are collecting dust. But expenses are rising and her ability to earn is dwindling. She knew she wanted to stay in her home, but she wasn’t sure how to host someone to bring in some extra cash.

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What That “Maybe” Facebook RSVP Really Means

Users have conscripted RSVPs to serve as something else entirely–a tribute to the resilience of human communication.

I haven’t used Facebook in some time; I left because of a gnawing intuition that it was warping my mind (and everyone else’s). So it was with a Lisa Simpson-style self-satisfied smirk that I started reading this fascinating article about how you can’t actually use RSVPs for Facebook invites anymore–at least, not for their intended purpose, which is to let the host know whether the f*ck you’re really coming or not.

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While America Denies Climate Change, The Dutch Are Making Art About It

“The global challenges we’re facing are signs of bad design,” says Daan Roosegaarde. “We’re badly designing planet Earth. We’re saying, let’s design our way out of it.”

The Netherlands is ahead of the game when it comes to adapting to climate change. Rising sea levels due to melting polar ice could threaten major cities from London to Sydney–but the Dutch have been holding back the sea for centuries already. One of their most long-lived, and effective, technologies? Dikes: basically, just walls to hold back water.

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One Of The Year’s Best Buildings Is Made Of Dirt–And It Could Save Lives

This rammed-earth building in Ludian County, China, offers a simple, inexpensive method for rebuilding after earthquakes.

Over 80,000 houses were reduced to rubble and more than 120,000 were damaged  when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck southwestern China, in 2014. Large-scale reconstruction initiatives are still underway and one of them–a small-scale experimental housing prototype–has received the prestigious Building of the Year award from the World Architecture Festival.

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When Is The U.S. Going To Ban The Internet Of Things For Children?

Germany is banning smartwatches and internet-connected dolls for kids due to serious privacy concerns. Why isn’t the FCC doing the same?

Germany’s equivalent to the FCC, the Bundesnetzagentur, has prohibited the sale of children’s smartwatches with eavesdropping capabilities. The agency is even urging parents to destroy them because they pose a real threat to children’s privacy and the privacy of others. Meanwhile, in the U.S., neither government agencies nor corporations are doing anything to avoid this very real danger to our rights.

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How Do You Quality-Test A “Smart Pill”?

You can’t exactly tell a research subject, “swallow this technology and see what happens.”

Earlier this week, the FDA granted its first-ever approval for a “smart pill”–a psychiatric medication that comes with a tiny sensor in every dose. The system is called Abilify MyCite. The idea is that when you take the pill, the sensor sends a signal to a patch you wear on your arm indicating that you’ve correctly dosed. The patch then transmits the information to a smartphone app that logs and tracks your medication schedule, as well as other relevant metrics like mood changes.

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The Culture War Being Fought Over Tomorrow’s Libraries

Libraries are a reflection of our culture, and they’ve never been more in flux.

New York City’s most iconic library is set to receive a $317 million makeover. The Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and New York and D.C. firm Beyer Blinder Belle will overhaul the landmarked Stephen A. Schwarzman Building–the Beaux Arts masterpiece located on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and famous for its sweeping outdoor staircase and lion statues–to add 20% more space for public exhibitions, research, and educational programs. The project, scheduled for completion in 2021, is emblematic of a broader transformation of libraries from bastions of public knowledge into fun houses–for better or worse, depending on who you ask.

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