Read for Later - "The physical store was the place to learn about products, inspect them—now we can learn about them on social media"

This week’s headline quotes Anthony Dukes, associate professor of marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, in an article from Advertising Age about the demise of retail flagship locations. Several recent articles about retail’s pivot to the experiential (instead of just transactional sales) reminds us of the power of our instruction, programming, and civic engagement to activate library spaces and make our work about more than just things.

You can always check out the Center's trend collection to see how this scanning comes together to identify trends relevant to our futures.  

And as you scan through these articles, consider dropping me a line to let me know what you're reading this week to help prepare for the future.

Cities and Government

City Lab “France will ban gasoline vehicles by 2040”
France announced plans to ban all sales of petrol and diesel cars by the year 2040, part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s drive to make France carbon neutral by 2050 – Norway already plans to phase out petrol and diesel car sales by 2025. See also ArsTechnica.

Motherboard “The European Parliament wants Europeans to have the right to repair”
Members of the European Parliament approved recommendations for hardware companies to make electronics like laptops and cell phones easier to fix, including testing whether a device has "built-in obsolescence” and listing a product's durability, upgradeability, and environmental sustainability. See also Engadget. Reader Trey Gordner noted the importance of right to repair articles like Motherboard's "The US government wants to permanently legalize the right to repair," which we covered a few weeks ago, for those supporting makerspaces and makers – absolutely correct and something to watch for!

PSFK “Wi-Fi on wheels will come to a New York City park”
StudioKCA’s Mobile Information Unit (MIU) features a solar panel roof, Wi-Fi, charging stations, and folding seats, providing an outdoor workstation for visitors to New York’s Governors Island.

Mashable “Facebook plans to build its own IRL town with homes, offices, and a grocery store”
Facebook announced plans for a "mixed-use village" at its Menlo Park headquarters, featuring a grocery store, pharmacy, housing, office space, and other services meant to combat the housing crisis in and around San Francisco – if cleared through the city’s review process, the first set of stores, housing, and office space could be completed in 2021. See also CNET, The Drum, Engadget, GeekWire, and ReCode.

ReCode “More than 1,000 income-subsidized housing units in San Francisco are getting free gigabit internet”
The nonprofit San Francisco Housing Development Corporation has partnered with Monkeybrains, a company that specializes in fast internet transmitted through wireless antennas, to provide two low-income housing complexes with free gigabit speed internet – the program will expand to more than 1,000 additional units of San Francisco income-subsidized housing and Monkeybrains has agreed to not charge residents more than $20 per month after the first two years of free service funded by a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission and Bank of America.


The Washington Post “The U.S. fertility rate just hit a historic low. Why some demographers are freaking out.”
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the number of births fell 1% from a year earlier, bringing the general fertility rate to 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 – driven by a decline in birthrates for teens and 20-somethings even as the birthrates for women in their 30s and 40s increased.

Mother Jones “Children of the opioid epidemic are flooding foster homes. America is turning a blind eye.”
The rise in addiction to painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl has produced a flood of bewildered children who, having lost their parents to drug use or overdose, are living with foster families or relatives – in 14 states, the number of foster kids rose by more than a quarter between 2011 and 2015, according to data amassed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

TechCrunch “Google Maps now lets users add wheelchair accessibility details for locations”
Google will allow Android users to enter accessibility information into Google Maps, including information about whether a location has a wheelchair accessible entrance, elevator, restroom, and more – once added the information will be available through Google Maps and search on mobile and desktop in the Accessibility section of a location’s description. See also CNET.

The Daily Dot “Transgender parent pushes for gender-neutral ID marker for their baby”
Canadian Kori Doty, who identifies as nonbinary transgender, refused to allow their child’s gender to be assigned at birth, instead having British Columbia issue a health card with a “U” under sex – the province has since declined to issue a birth certificate for the child without identifying a sex or gender, prompting Doty to apply for a judicial review of the birth certificate policy.


ReCode “The FAA is now refunding people who registered their drones”
Following a federal court ruling in May that found the FAA’s drone registration rules in violation of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, the Federal Aviation Administration has offered an application for hobbyist drone operators to remove their name from the FAA’s drone registration database and receive a refund of their $5 registration fee. See also Engadget and TechCrunch.  

ReCode “Ohio is now the fifth state to permit unmanned delivery robots on sidewalks”
Ohio is now the fifth state to pass a law permitting the use of delivery robots on sidewalks and in crosswalks statewide – the state joins Florida, Idaho, Virginia, and Wisconsin.


The Christian Science Monitor “College after prison? New Louisiana law makes it easier.”
Louisiana became the first state to prohibit public colleges from asking applicants about their criminal history (with the exception of convictions for stalking, rape, or sexual battery that must be reported) – the state has the highest incarceration rate and is indicative of a growing recognition across the United States that improving access to higher education for formerly incarcerated people can benefit not only ex-offenders, but society at large. 

The Washington Post “New Florida law lets any resident challenge what’s taught in science classes”
New legislation in Florida will allow any resident to challenge what kids learn in public schools, requiring school boards to hire an “unbiased hearing officer” who will handle complaints about instructional materials such as movies, textbooks, and novels – science education advocates worry the law will make it harder to teach evolution and climate change.

Politico “18 states sue Betsy DeVos over delay of student loan protections”
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia filed suit against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her delay of regulations meant to protect federal student loan borrowers defrauded by their schools – the suit accuses DeVos of illegally delaying regulations meant to make it easier for defrauded student loan borrowers to seek debt forgiveness from predatory colleges. See also The Daily Dot, Mic, and The New York Times.

The Internet

Fortune “Google and Facebook give net neutrality campaign a boost”
Google and Facebook will join the "day of action" for net neutrality on July 12th, which aims to preserve rules that forbid Internet providers from favoring some websites over others – Google and Facebook have been staunch supporters of net neutrality in the past, but had not announced their support for the day of action. See also Engadget, ReCode, and The Verge

Journalism and News

The Guardian “Press Association wins Google grant to run news service written by computers”
The UK Press Association, which supplies copy to news outlets in the UK and Ireland, has received a £621,000 grant from Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI) to run a news service with computers writing localized news stories – the resulting project Radar (Reporters And Data And Robots) will have journalists spot and create stories and artificial intelligence increase the amount of content to scale up the volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually. See also Engadget, ReCode, and TechCrunch.


Bloomberg “Apple tests 3-D face scanning to unlock next iPhone”
Apple is reportedly testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning a user’s face or eye – the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. See also CNET, Engadget, and Mic.

Restaurants, Retail, and Spaces

Advertising Age “Why retail flagships are running aground”
As retail changes its approach to physical stores, flagship locations like Macy’s on 34th Street in Manhattan are being rethought, with some retailers abandoning flagship outposts as unjustifiable even as a marketing expense and others transforming locations into more experiential, showroom-type locations where consumers can look but not necessarily buy.

Bloomberg “Shopping-mall owners pay up to stay relevant in Amazon era”
Mall owners are working to keep their real estate up to date and fill the void left by failing stores, making spaces available for restaurants and bars, mini-golf courses, and rock-climbing gyms to draw in customers who appear more interested in being entertained than in buying clothes and electronics.

Bloomberg “Instagram and Nike reach for fashion's holy grail”
While details are not available, Nike announced plans to sell some of its products through Instagram – sales through Instagram and other millennial-focused social media sites has been a focus for retailers. See also The Drum, Engadget, and Mashable.

Streaming Media

Engadget “Ava DuVernay to write and direct Netflix’s Central Park Five series”
Ava DuVernay will write and direct a five-episode Netflix series about the Central Park Five case – DuVernay had previously worked with Netflix on her Oscar-nominated documentary 13th. See also The Daily Dot, Mic, and The Verge

Bloomberg “Facebook, Twitter are said to seek World Cup clips from Fox”
Facebook, Twitter, and Snap are reportedly seeking online rights to video highlights from next year's World Cup, offering 21st Century Fox tens of millions of dollars for the rights. See also ArsTechnica.

Engadget “Spotify's new series tackles topics like immigration and equality”
Spotify’s new "I'm with the banned" series will feature music, videos, and a documentary inspired by issues like immigration and LGBTQ equality.

Engadget “BBC to spend millions luring kids back from Netflix and YouTube”
As Netflix, Amazon, and Google have lured younger viewers by replacing linear broadcasts with on-demand content, the BBC will make its "biggest investment in children's services in a generation" as part of its 2017 Annual Plan, raising its Children's budget to £124.4 million, up from £110 million today, with a quarter of that spent on online services, including online video, photos, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, quizzes, guides, games and apps.

The Verge “Jay Z’s Tidal exclusive 4:44 has gone platinum in less than a week”
Jay Z’s 4:44 album, available exclusively to Tidal subscribers, has gone platinum less than a week after its release – the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) counts 1,500 track streams equivalent to one album sale. See also The Daily Dot, Engadget, and Mashable

Voice Control

TechCrunch “Amazon’s Alexa passes 15,000 skills, up from 10,000 in February”
Amazon’s Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills, up from the 10,000 skills Amazon officially announced in February. See also GeekWire and Mashable