Also: More of CityLab’s most popular stories of 2019, and a next-generation trash bin.
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What We’re Following
Get smart: The smartphone—and the millions of apps that followed it—will go down as one of the most transformative technologies of the 2010s. And one of the primary agents for that transformation has been the city. Some of that change is plain for the eye to see: Companies like Uber, Instagram, Google Maps, and Airbnb have reshaped how we travel through and experience cities. Some of it is by its very nature hidden: Seemingly every object on the street can be made “smart” simply by gathering digital data to crunch, while the phones in our pockets tell companies where demand could go next.
CityLab’s Laura Bliss reflects on how the 2010s became app-addled and optimized: This Was the Decade That the City Became the App Store
Most Popular CityLab Reads of 2019
In use since the 1930s, New York’s 23,000 steel litter baskets are ubiquitous but not without real problems: They can get heavy and their aesthetics are not to everyone’s liking. Earlier this month, New York announced a new design for public waste bins following its year-and-a-half-long “BetterBin” competition, which drew more than 200 submissions.
The competition’s winning entry, shown above, is sleeker, with a heavy-duty plastic bin partly nestled inside a metal stand. There are still a few tests that need to take place before you’ll see these new bins on the corner, but could this be the urban trash can of the future? CityLab’s Linda Poon takes a look: New York City Unveils a Next Generation Trash Can
What We’re Reading
A decade of urban transformation, seen from above (New York Times)
Welcome to the era of the post-shopping mall (New York Times)