Sunny day flooding in Miami
Phillip Pessar Sunny day flooding in Miami

As residents cope with this year's record-breaking hurricane season, researchers from the University of Arizona have found that Black and Hispanic homeowners are more likely than white or Asian homeowners to live in areas at high risk of flooding during natural disasters. For the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, researchers used data on homebuyer ethnicity and income,and from property sales in flood-prone south Florida to track how much low-income homeowners would be willing or able to pay to avoid living in a high-risk flood zone. Asian and white homeowners (combined due to their similar incomes and because Asian homeowners accounted for just 2.5% of the property sales data) were willing or able to spend approximately $710 annually, For Hispanic and Black homeowners, that amount wasabout $618 and $500, respectively. The researchers also found that proposed reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program—created under the Insurance Act of 1968—would have "disparately negative effects on homeowners of certain ethnicities." Low-income white and Asian homeowners would have to pay approximately 0.45% of their average annual income more, while Black homeowners would have to pay around 0.55% more on average and Hispanic homeowners 0.7% more. "It shows that even with good-intentioned policy reform," said lead author and associate professor Laura Bakkensen in a university press release, "we still have to ... do our due diligence to make sure there aren't unintended consequences that could cause harm to communities that may already experience a lot of harm from flooding and other natural disasters." [University of Arizona]

Researchers from the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K. report that countries wanting to lower emissions in a sustainable and cost-effective manner should prioritize renewable energy over nuclear energy. By analyzing energy data from the World Bank and the International Energy Agency for 123 countries over 25 years, the researchers discovered that renewables (which reliably lead to lower carbon emissions), and nuclear energy (which does not) are "incompatible" pursuits, according to a press release from the university. [University of Sussex]

Point of Action (rendering), 2020.
Courtesy Studio Cooke John Point of Action (rendering), 2020.

The New York–based nonprofit Van Alen Institute has selected the winner of its 2020 Flatiron Public Plaza Design Installation competition. Point of Action, by the New York–based Studio Cooke John, consists of metal frames woven with ropes situated atop nine 6-foot circles distributed across the plazas. Viewers Individuals can step into the "spotlights" and see how they're connected to other viewers and passersby. Point of Action will be on view from Nov. 23, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021 in the Flatiron Public Plazas on Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street, in New York. [Van Alen Institute]

Are you struggling to conduct outbound marketing and networking in an age when video conferencing is the prevailing option. Regular ARCHITECT contributor Evelyn Lee, AIA, suggests you revisit often overlooked medium: the email newsletter. "How many newsletters do you subscribe to? Compare that to how many people you follow on your social media networks." [ARCHITECT]

Facebook is located in Melo Park, Calif.
Courtesy Facebook Facebook is located in Melo Park, Calif.

Silicon Valley's tech giants were notorious for attracting talent with state-of-the-art amenities—slides, bikes, free food—and high-end design. But many employees are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a return to "normal" office life looks more unlikely with each day. So what will happen to all these tech headquarters, wonders tech reporter Heather Kelly in The Washington Post. [The Washington Post]

Inspired by John F. Kennedy's 1961 moonshot speech, the Earthshot Prize aims "to incentivize change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years," according to its website. To celebrate the launch of the £50 million (approximately $65 million) prize, the organization released a video featuring broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. [Earthshot Prize]

The MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2020 class of fellows who will receive its "Genius Grant." The 21 artists, academics, and researchers are "asking critical questions, developing innovative technologies and public policies, enriching our understanding of the human condition, and producing works of art that provoke and inspire us," according to Cecilia Conrad, MacArthur fellow managing director, in an announcement from the foundation. This year's spectacular class of fellows include environmental health advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers; sociologist, writer, and scholar Tressie McMillan Cottom; and experimental physicist Monika Schleier-Smith. [John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation]

Courtesy NVIDIA

The Santa Clara, Calif.–based techn company Nvidia has released a beta for its Omniverse platform, which, among many capabilities, enables architects and designers to collaborate in real time on 3D simulations of building renderings. [ARCHITECT]

Courtesy BTHL

Originating in the Middle East and appearing in the Colosseum in Rome, exterior solar protection has been used by humans for centuries. Take a look at the evolution of shade coverings and devices through the Building Technology Heritage Library's collection of catalogs from the early 20th century. [ARCHITECT]