Written by Staff Writer Staff Writer
Published in the March issue
Innovation is accelerating in urban areas — and it affects not only the physical beauty of our cities, but their ability to clean our air and water and preserve our wildlife. In the last decade, for example, new construction has led to more energy-efficient cars, clean energy technology, augmented-reality and driving safety.
We’ve recently been exposed to many of these clean tech products, as seen with developments in driverless cars and innovative air filters. But new possibilities are coming from the cutting edge — from artificial intelligence, robotics and self-driving, to battery technologies, sustainable crops and medicine.
To capture this urban innovation and its future impact, this season’s series of magazine issues focuses on five cities that represent modern innovators — urban labs that showcase breakthroughs in building environments, sustainability and weather-sensing technologies, to name a few.
We highlight key changes that are occurring at the center of our cities and how these transformations are reshaping our daily lives.
1. San Francisco’s tree canopy shrinks while its population grows
Remaking the urban environment
In 2015, San Francisco lost 26% of its tree canopy and saw over 8,000 tree-related deaths.
There were many causes for the urban decay, not the least of which is the city’s dramatic population growth — according to the US Census Bureau, the area’s population has more than doubled since 1990, from just over 1 million to over 2.3 million.