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Why Cities Need to De-Emphasize Cars and Turn Streets Into Parks—Data Sheet

September 17, 2019, 12:44 PM UTC

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Most people tend to swim in one lane. Some of the most successful, however, have such wide-ranging interests and ideas and aspirations that their expertise and curiosity lead them to transcend any one field. They become society’s leaders, the people who imagine what life can be as opposed to simply observing how it is.

I recently soaked up some thoughts from one such multi-position player, the noted architect Bjarke Ingels. The Dane is as well-known for the global projects he has built as for his knack for publicizing them and himself. There’s a reason for his notoriety: He’s damn interesting.

His obsession is reimagining what cities will look like, an important task given how increasingly urban the world is becoming. Here are four of his big ideas, with the topic wording his, not mine:

1. Hedonistic sustainability. Ingels’s firm recently designed a “harbor bath” in Copenhagen, a combination of pools and a ski park on top of a power plant. “Clean technology is not only better for the planet and the environment–but for the citizens of the city,” he says.

2. Social infrastructure. For all of urban history, factories, power plants, warehouses, and the like have been kept separate from where people live. Now they are coming together. “They will in the future be integrated to make every square inch of the city enjoyable to human life,” says Ingels.

3. Mirrorworld. Ingels notes that after years of technology companies pursuing purely digital products, they have turned their attention to the physical: bikes, scooters, robotic cars, and so on. Urban planners, playing catch-up, should be rejoicing: “Imagine taking every third street and turning it into a linear park–and every other third street and turning it into a pedestrian promenade where purpose-driven traffic like stands, food trucks, and temporary market stands have access–and only the last third remains conventional traffic.”

4. Infrastructure without infrastructure. The architect has long designed communities for multiple income levels. He predicts what we now call slums will explode in volume, necessitating new approaches. If so, we’ll need “power without grids, sanitation without sewers, and communication without carriers,” he says.

That’s a lot to think about.

Adam Lashinsky

On Twitter: @adamlashinsky



Not that there's anything wrong with that. After losing The Office and Friends, Netflix finally found a hit sitcom to call its own. The streaming giant announced a deal on Monday for the rights to Seinfeld starting in 2021. The cost of the five-year agreement is rumored to exceed $500 million.

Taking my toys home. Despite making last-minute changes to appease investors, the We Company probably still can't go public anywhere close to its last private valuation of $47 billion. So the road show is cancelled and the IPO is postponed, the Wall Street Journal reports. And that's causing trouble for lead investor SoftBank Group, which is now facing pushback raising a new investment fund from its own lead investors, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, says Bloomberg.

Not at my desk. Some workers from tech giants Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all planning to participate in a walkout on Friday to protest the lack of action on global climate change. Also on the Amazon beat, the company changed the search algorithm on its site to boost sales of its own brands (over the objections of some of its own engineers and lawyers).

Keep digging. Tesla CEO and sometimes-angry billionaire Elon Musk spent $50,000 to try and uncover dirt on the British cave diver who is suing him for liable over a tweet. The revelation came as Musk's legal team sought to have the lawsuit filed by Vernon Unsworth dismissed before trial.

If I'm shining everybody's gonna shine. Put another phone and stuff announcement on your calendar. Google says it's unveiling the Pixel 4 on October 15 in New York City. And less officially, dating app Tinder has a new strategy that involves making an original TV show, Reuters reports. You'd think maybe some kind of dating reality show (Love Chalet, anybody?), but, no, it's an end-of-the-world scenario.

Free inside his mind. One of the hackers who carried out a 2014 attack on JP Morgan Chase to steal data on 80 million customers has struck a plea deal with prosecutors. Andrei Tyurin, extradited last year from the Republic of Georgia, will plead guilty but other terms of the arrangement aren't public yet.

Calculate that. If you want more in-depth coverage of artificial intelligence, don't forget to subscribe to our weekly Eye on A.I. newsletter. The newest issue comes out later today.


The former CEO of Athenahealth, Jonathan Bush, is joining startup Firefly Health as executive chairman. Bush left the company he co-founded last year as activist investor Elliott Management pushed for changes...Adam Pellegrini, who had led Fitbit's digital health push for the last three years, has jumped to CVS as senior vice president of transformation, consumer health products...Trouble at online performance tracker New Relic, where chief technology officer Jim Gochee and chief revenue officer Erica Schultz resigned amid missed financial forecasts...The outgoing CEO and president of D.C. nonprofit the Center for Democracy and Technology, Nuala O’Connor, has joined Walmart as senior vice president and chief counsel of digital citizenship.


The Internet Archive is a nonprofit founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle to catalog as much as possible of our digital age. Its most famous component is probably the Wayback Machine, which lets you examine the past history of any website. But in this age of digital misinformation, what is the archive's mission? Kahle, Wayback director Mark Graham, and others at the group spoke with Financial Times reporter Camilla Hodgson about their strategies and philosophies for dealing with such material:

The archive hopes its repository will help others identify false information and fact-check suspicious content. The emergence of deepfakes — videos that appear to show someone doing or saying something they did not do or say — is a “monster problem”, said Roger Macdonald, director of the organisation’s TV archive. But having a library of videos means experts and algorithms can help spot those that have been tampered with or taken out of context.

Deciding what to do about fakes is more difficult, and not part of the archive’s mandate. But Mr Graham argued that simply removing false information or offensive content isn’t necessarily the answer. Hateful material need not remain publicly available, he said, but certain researchers and politicians should be able to study it. As such, the Wayback Machine does not filter out misinformation. “It’s not about trying to archive the stuff that’s true, but archive the conversation. All of that is what people are experiencing,” said Mr Graham.


Why a Postponed WeWork IPO Wouldn’t Be Bad News for the IPO Market By Kevin Kelleher

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Amazon’s In-House Products Go Far Beyond AmazonBasics By Alyssa Newcomb

How People Are Using Smartwatches to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy By Aaron Pressman

A New Business Model for the Web? $100 Million Creators’ Fund Seeks to Break Tech Giants’ Monopoly By Jeff John Roberts

Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman on Hong Kong’s Unrest, the Rise of Bitcoin, and Fundraising as an ‘Out-of-Body Experience’ By Polina Marinova


The outrage over the Equifax privacy scandal settlement should only be growing. After the Federal Trade Commission promised the 147 million people who had their private information stolen that they could get up to $125 in compensation, it turned out Equifax had set side a tiny amount of money to cover claims. Then, last week, Equifax sent a spammy-looking email demanding further proof from people who had claimed the money. New York Times opinion writer Charlie Warzel is urging people to fight back. Make sure you respond to the email and send a letter to the court overseeing the settlement to complain, he recommends.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.