How Dubai plans to transform Expo 2020 into a “human-centric future city”

Plus: A safer e-scooter.

DUBAI, UAE - MARCH 31: Fireworks show is seen during the closing ceremony of Dubai EXPO 2020, which ...
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Dubai’s innovation-focused world’s fair, Expo 2020, is over, reports the AP. When it was first conceived in 2013, the event was supposed to be a fantastic, $33-billion-dollar spectacle. But global lockdowns had other plans.

HORIZONS is a series on the innovations of today that will shape the world of tomorrow. This is an adapted version of the April 4 edition of the HORIZONS newsletter. Forecast the future by signing up for our free HORIZONS newsletter.

Out with a bang.

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Goodbye, Dubai

The Dubai Expo 2020 has run its course, finally.

Originally scheduled for 2020, the organizers were forced to delay the event by a year. Now, after its sort of rocky run, there are plans to transform the expo fairgrounds into District 2020, which the project’s website describes as “a human-centric future city.”

“District 2020 will evolve from Expo 2020 Dubai as a smart and sustainable city centered on the needs of its urban community,” a statement on the website reads.

“Following the six months of the World Expo, District 2020 will re-purpose 80 [percent] of the Expo’s [built] environment into an integrated mixed use community that will continue to attract businesses and people to work, live, visit and enjoy.”

Vague, but sure, why not. CNN reports the city will “include 45,000 square meters of green space and parks filled with local native species, emphasize public transport, and outfit each building with solar panels. It’s an exciting plan, as long as Dubai is fully able to commit to being “human-centric.””

E-scooters have become the bane of some pedestrians’ lives.

Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News/Getty Images

On the horizon…

The Superpedestrian e-scooter is making waves for its “advanced AI safety system,” Axios reports. The system, the Pedestrian Defense feature, claims to slow and correct unsafe scooting. In February, the company received $125 million in funding to develop and make the smart system reality. The company also takes a number six spot on Fast Company’s “10 most innovative companies in transportation” list.

According to the Superpedestrian website, the company is interested in creating “sustainable, connected cities by providing transit-oriented shared micromobility services that are inclusive, efficient, financially sustainable, and above all, safe.”

Scooters with the Pedestrian Defense system will have an initial roll out in 25 cities in the U.S. and Europe.

See it to believe it…

If the universe permits, SpaceX is set to launch Axiom Space’s private mission to the International Space Station on Friday, April 8 — the first of many planned launches. The AX-1 crew will spend ten days on the station. Eventually, Axiom Space hopes to build its own private space station.

Axiom’s crew.

T-minus the internet…

This is our list of everything innovative and online you need to know about this week, handpicked and ranked with bionic precision.

5. Mars has two speeds of sound at the surface. Read more on Inverse.
4. Amazon workers Christian Smalls and Derrick Palmer have successfully led their coworkers to unionization. “We did it! We won!”
3. Once considered Tesla’s biggest rival, Faraday Future Intelligent Electric is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for potentially misleading investors about its vehicle pre-orders. The company’s future is hazy.
2. Elon Musk’s lawyers are shaking up the Tesla CEO’s own battle with the SEC with a little culture. If, of course, you consider “culture” to be changing the Eminem lyric “The FCC won’t let me be or let me be me so let me see/ They tried to shut me down” to say “SEC” instead of “FCC” so your client can tweet 4/20 a bunch more times. Yes, that is culture.
1. Did you miss it? Randi Zuckerberg, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, creates cryptocurrency parodies of popular songs. She made two in February, but has been silent on the musical front since. She sang what she needed to sing.

Would humans on another planet screw it up as much as they have on Earth?


Beyond the horizon…

Famed science-fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower is heading for the stage. Written in 1993, the novel deals with the themes of the climate apocalypse and social injustice — it may be almost thirty years old, but it reads relevant today.

Toshi Reagon’s musical adaptation of the novel will be on view from April 21 to 24, 2022 at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston. If you can’t make it, listen to Reagon perform a song from the powerful new musical on YouTube.

This has been HORIZONS, a newsletter that looks at the innovations of today already shaping the world of tomorrow.

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