Replica analysis of Main Street in Kansas City, Mo.
Courtesy Sidewalk Labs Replica analysis of Main Street in Kansas City, Mo.

According to a GeekWire article, the city of Portland, Ore., has agreed to serve as a pilot location for Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs' latest technology, Replica. Announced in April 2018, Replica is billed as an urban planning tool that can track users' smart devices without personal identification "to give planning agencies a comprehensive portrait of how, when, and why people travel in urban areas," according to Sidewalk Labs. For approximately half a million dollars, Portland will test the software for a year in exchange for the resulting dataset of tracked movement collected by Replica. Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., are also pilot cities. [GeekWire]

A recent feature in The New York Times begs the question: If technology for virtually earthquake-proof construction is available, why aren't we using it? "Japan, through both government mandates and its engineering culture, builds stronger structures capable of withstanding earthquakes and being used immediately afterward," write authors Thomas Fuller, Anjali Singhvi, Mika Gröndahl, and Derek Watkins. "The United States sets a minimum and less protective standard with the understanding that many buildings will be badly damaged." [The New York Times]

Courtesy Unity Technologies

This week, Autodesk partner Unity Technologies launched new tool Unity Reflect that allows AEC professionals to collaborate on BIM models in real-time. Using the product billed as the first of its kind, users can export CAD and BIM data from Revit into Unity's augmented reality and virtual reality 3D platforms, "creating an interactive 3D experience that is live-linked to the original design application." [Unity Technologies]

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has launched the African American Design Nexus, a growing online canon to celebrate African American architects and designers to "showcase their craft, explore different geographies of design practice, and inspire change within design institutions to participate in adopting new approaches to elevate black designers." Featured individuals include National Museum of African American History and Culture designer Phil Freelon, FAIA, Columbia GSAPP professor Mabel O. Wilson, and AIA Gold Medal award winner Paul Revere Williams. [Harvard GSD]

ArchiCAD developer Graphisoft and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games have collaborated to provide ArchiCAD 23 customers free access to a forthcoming version of visualization software Twinmotion, recently acquired by Epic. Expected in the fourth quarter of 2019, the software will "incorporate state-of-the-art real-time rendering technology," according to a joint press release. The offer will run from the first release of Epic’s upgraded solutuion to the end of ARCHICAD 23’s release cycle. [Graphisoft]