News 19.05.2023

Need to Know

Vitra Design Museum’s new exhibition exploring the future of hot cities, Pavan Bivigou’s Foresight Friday and why nearly half of Americans worry their money isn’t safe in banks

Vitra Design Museum’s new exhibition explores the future of hot cities

Hot Cities: Lessons from Arab Architecture, Germany
Hot Cities: Lessons from Arab Architecture, Germany
Hot Cities: Lessons from Arab Architecture, Germany
Hot Cities: Lessons from Arab Architecture, Germany

Germany – Vitra Design Museum’s new exhibition, Hot Cities, looks closely at the cities of the Arabic-speaking world and investigates the obstacles posed by the region’s harsh climate. Running until 5 November 2023, the exhibition aims to show how architects can blend traditional styles with modern technologies to tackle future challenges.

Hot Cities, curated by Ahmed and Rashid bin Shabib, presents case studies and examples from 20 Arabic-speaking cities that offer insights into climate change-related questions. The project demonstrates how these cities can thrive in extreme conditions through the adoption of appropriate urban culture. It invites experts to share their knowledge and to foster meaningful dialogue while inspiring fresh perspectives on the future of hot cities.

The show also seeks to create a dictionary of Arab architecture through the lens of climate adaptation. Hot Cities aligns with our Elastic Architecture report, in which we explored how environmental crises have resulted in architects designing adaptive buildings that meet the needs of communities and the planet.

Strategic opportunity

Is your business ready to tackle upcoming heatwaves and rising temperatures throughout the year? Find inspiration in architects’ adaptive cities to rethink customer service, staff wellbeing and the overall impact of your current carbon footprint on global warming

Fluus introduces flushable period pads

Fluus, UK Fluus, UK
Fluus, UK Fluus, UK

UK – Fluus, a portmanteau word for flush us, has developed a game-changing line of microplastic-free, entirely biodegradable and flushable after-use period products.

According to Fluus, 30% of period products are flushed down the toilet in the UK, which leads to some 3.4 tonnes of microplastics ending up in waterways. The company set out to find a solution to tackle this overlooked issue and created a product that users can flush down the toilet without causing any environmental harm. The proprietary Flushtec technology provides pads with strong absorbent properties but also means the product breaks down into plant fibre and 100% biodegradable materials under water pressure when flushed.

The waste and plastic-free nature of Fluus sets it apart from most competitors by being kinder to the environment while users can avoid the inconvenient situation of finding themselves in a public toilet without a bin and a period product to dispose of. Women’s health is still massively underserved and under-researched, and small but incremental advances like Fluus’s technology are a step forward.

Strategic opportunity

Players in the menstruation care market should rethink how to innovate with new solutions and tech tailored to women and menstruating individuals’ needs – which the wellness and healthcare industries have historically neglected

Foresight Friday: Pavan Bivigou, senior foresight analyst

Carolina Carballo for The Future Laboratory Carolina Carballo for The Future Laboratory

Every Friday, The Future Laboratory team offer an end-of-week wrap-up of the topics, issues, ideas and virals we’re all talking about. This week, senior foresight analyst Pavan Bivigou looks at thriving tech, dying crafts and an artist who combines both.

: Generative AI creativity is still in its can’t-stop, won’t-stop era. This week, we learned that AI made spring/summer 2023 campaign images for luxury fashion brand Casablanca. K-pop artist MIDNATT is using AI to sing to us in six languages, and Tom Hanks has warned that the technology could allow him to appear in movies even after he dies.

: Feeling overwhelmed by the fastness, vastness and speed of new tech? Activate Quiet Mode! Also, consider adopting an offline hobby. According to UK charity Heritage Crafts, many traditional crafts face extinction. Some 17 endangered skills have been added to its Red List, including marionette-making, fabric-pleating and bell-founding.

: Textile artist Qualeasha Wood’s work is an inventive blend of the traditional and contemporary arts. Her self-portrait tapestry is inspired by pop music and showcases her extremely online encounters – including Instagram selfies and pop-up ads.

Quote of the week

‘When you look at representation as the only solution, you’re not acknowledging all the barriers there are to participation. It’s not just fashion – this is a microcosm of the wider world.’

Sinéad Burke to British Vogue

Stat: Nearly half of Americans worry about their money’s safety in banks

Wise. Identity by Ragged Edge Wise. Identity by Ragged Edge

US – An April 2023 poll conducted by Gallup has revealed that 48% of US adults are concerned about the safety of the money they have deposited in banks and other financial institutions. Of those, 19% claim they are very worried and 29% say they are moderately worried.

The poll follows nationwide concerns about banks after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023 and the sale of First Republic Bank to JPMorgan in May 2023. The survey results are similar to what Gallup found when it asked Americans whether they were worried about their money in financial institutions in 2008 following the Global Financial Crisis.

A lack of trust in banks would hit all sectors relying on digital payments and hints at new opportunities for more inclusive financial products and services dedicated to the unbanked – a market we previously analysed in Banking The Unbanked.

Strategic opportunity

Is your business ready to adapt immediately to a wave of clients refusing to deposit their money in banks? Consider how to implement a strategy to receive day-to-day payments with decentralised cryptocurrencies

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