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07 : 09 : 22

Ethical urban housing, NFTs grant access to New York fashion week, and timber cities help combat the climate crisis.

This ethical housing project re-imagines urban living

Terrace House by Austin Maynard Architects, Australia
Terrace House by Austin Maynard Architects, Australia
Terrace House by Austin Maynard Architects, Australia

Melbourne – Moving to the suburbs has long been the only realistic option for young families searching for a place with more space. But now, Terrace House, a new low-cost and ethical development by Austin Maynard Architects, is looking to change that.

Located on a narrow strip of land in Brunswick, Melbourne, the site is a six-storey apartment building with 20 flats and three retail spaces on the ground floor. It brings qualities not usually found in urban locations, such as high ceilings and outdoor space, to affordable inner-city housing. All apartments have a private terrace, while the interiors make extremely efficient use of space. Aspects of the block’s design reference local historic architecture.

‘Terrace House fills a much-needed gap in the housing market,’ says the studio. ‘Notably more affordable than similarly sized, unrenovated homes in the area. Large enough for families, but still with the shared resourcing and community that apartment living can bring.’ With its ethical design and community-led approach, Terrace House is an example of Equilibrium Cities in action.

Strategic opportunity

How can you help bring the benefits of suburban living to the inner city and vice versa?

NFT keys unlock access to NYFW

Afterpay Key for Keys to NYFW by Afterpay, US Afterpay Key for Keys to NYFW by Afterpay, US
Altu Key for Keys to NYFW by Afterpay, US Altu Key for Keys to NYFW by Afterpay, US

New York – Buy-now, pay-later provider Afterpay is partnering with New York Fashion Week to transform access to the event using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As part of the partnership, five New York designers – including Jonathan Simkhai, Kim Shui and AnOnlyChild – will grant access to their shows and unlock experiences, gifts and benefits to consumers who purchase a branded NFT key costing £87 ($100, €101).

There will be 50 keys available for each designer, with 250 NFTs in total. Customers who purchase the Keys to NYFW will have the option to choose between an IRL NYFW Experience or a Designer Keepsake, which will include a tangible item from the company. Both cryptocurrencies and conventional credit cards are accepted as payment methods, meaning customers don’t need to be crypto-savvy to purchase the digital product.

With a reasonable price point and the ability to purchase them with fiat currencies, the NYFW keys show how fashion brands can use NFTs to reward their fans and customers with exceptional products and experiences.

Strategic opportunity

By embedding utility into them, fashion companies can make digital collectibles more desirable. Consider how your company can create functional NFTs

Pinterest’s new collage app is booming on TikTok

US – Image-sharing and inspiration platform Pinterest has soft launched a new collage app that’s taking TikTok by storm. Currently invitation-only, Shuffles enables users to cut out and layer photos with animation effects to create short videos, which can then be shared.

Gen Z users have seized on the creative potential of the tool, sharing expressive ‘aesthetic’ mood board videos via the mobile app’s easy-to-use editing features. The animation tools allow users to bring images to life, making them rotate, pulse and spin.

As well as enabling people to create good content for TikTok, the app drives traffic to Pinterest. Users can click on objects featured in a Shuffles collage that takes them to Pinterest or to the retailer’s website. With the app still in the testing phase the element of exclusivity is also driving interest, with users only able to access the app if they receive an invitation code from a user.

The app continues to do what Pinterest does best – helping people to create mood boards and collect ideas – while also adapting to the rise of video-sharing on social media, providing a perfect example of an Elastic Brand.

Pinterest, US

Strategic opportunity

Create sharable content that’s tailored for video-sharing on social media platforms

Stat: Timber cities could cut carbon emissions

The self-sufficient city by Guallart Architects, Xiong'an The self-sufficient city by Guallart Architects, Xiong'an

A large-scale transition to wood in the construction industry could help combat the climate crisis. Research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) has found that building homes with wood rather than concrete or steel could cut CO2 emissions by 100bn tonnes over the next 80 years.

Although the timber plantations required for supplying construction wood could put biodiversity at risk, and must be properly managed, wood has a substantially lower carbon footprint than materials like steel and concrete. According to researchers from PIK, the reduction in emissions that would result from a widespread use of wood for construction in cities would be equivalent to 10% of the world’s remaining carbon budget.

As technological advances make mid-rise timber buildings – structures that are 4–12 storeys high – more feasible, designers such as Mario Cucinella are showing how sustainable materials are the key to future cities.

Strategic opportunity

If possible, companies should consider constructing retail and office spaces with timber, helping cut carbon emissions in urban centres

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