Link About It: This Week’s Picks

From greener carparks to public art, scientific breakthroughs and custom cars, news from around the web

Turning Big-Box Store Parking Lots into Urban Farms

French design firm Studio NAB has proposed the Car Parks 2.0 concept, which strips away asphalt in the acres and acres dedicated to big-box store parking lots, in order to expose the soil trapped beneath and utilize a portion for urban farming. The concept envisions two other sections: one where the community can grow and another where some parking spaces remain, but where the asphalt has still been replaced by green space. Algae-filled awnings could also sequester carbon and even generate electricity for electric cars. Read more at Fast Company.

Justkids + Camille Walala’s Colorful Gas Station

The corner of Grand Ave and 11th St in Fort Smith, Arkansas has been transformed by women-led global creative house Justkids and French artist Camille Walala. Named Walala Pump & Go, the ’50s-era gas station is now a bright, bold and playful piece of public art. The colorful patterns that now cover the structure were inspired by the artist’s “travels, the Memphis movement, optical art masters and the Southern Ndebele tribe women.” Plenty of locals helped out with the project, including artist Nate Meyers. Curator for Justkids, Charlotte Dutoit says, “After five years of curating diverse visual projects in Fort Smith, I learned that a big part of good place-making is creating community and a sense of re-discovery of the beauty that is there, in the city, all along, and Camille’s work does just that.” See more at designboom.

China-Based BGI Aims to Extend Life to a Minimum of 99 Years

For China-based BGI, the secret to living longer and healthier lies in interpreting our genetic sequences (a notion that’s often met with privacy concerns). Along with regular exercise and a healthy diet, tapping into our DNA to determine which diseases or ailments we’re susceptible to may prolong life 20+ years above the international average, which hovers around 71. The genetics giant (along with plenty of foreign partners) is working to be the most all-encompassing DNA testing organization. Thus, they manufacture DNA sequencers and sell them for 25% of the usual cost, run the ones inside their labs almost 24/7 with samples from current staffers, and research the subsequent data to inform the general public, thus increasing the demand for the technology and their business. It seems that testing our DNA could become as routine as yearly check-ups and vaccines. Read more at Bloomberg.

How Like-Free Instagram Will Look

Instagram will begin to hide “like” counts on posts this week for certain users in the US—an expansion of testing that’s already begun in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. As Instagram has made clear, likes aren’t completely gone; they will be visible to users on their own photos and videos, just not to their followers. Business Insider has provided a screenshot from an Australian account that’s already transitioned to the test stage. Notably, it’s not that different than what we currently see. Head to Business Insider to learn more.

The Zagat Guide Returns to Print for Special 40th Anniversary Edition

One year after restaurant recommendation site The Infatuation bought Zagat from Google, they’re returning the iconic guide to print form—in the same pocket-size dimensions. The just-released, 352-page 40th anniversary special edition includes a foreword by Danny Meyer, a decade-by-decade retrospective of NYC dining and reviews of 1,400+ restaurants across 105 neighborhoods. The 2020 New York City Restaurants: Special 40th Anniversary Edition guidebook addresses 57 cuisines and they rank Le Bernardin as NYC’s top spot for the year. Read more at the New York Times—or simply pick up the book, as it’s not just a nostalgic nod but also a useful tool.

An Ever-Growing Database of Good News

Meant to “move our attention beyond dramatic news headlines to the slow developments and quiet trends that go unseen, uncelebrated,” Beautiful News (by Information Is Beautiful) stores infographics and research results that deviate from the grim headlines found more commonly. Updated daily, the graphics detail positive developments in the fight against climate change, news of rising global literacy, falling mortality rates—even the announcement of new types of chocolate—and more. Each graphic comes accompanied by cited sources, a blurb for context, and options to share or embed the graphic elsewhere. Though incredibly informative and well-presented, Beautiful News may be best used as respite from the typical news cycle. See more at their site.

Storytelling Can Usher Us Into an Eco-Friendly Future

Swedish journalist and chief storyteller for Sweden’s Viable Cities Program, Per Grankvist believes that specialized storytelling (which varies from city to city) will be what actually convinces large population groups to make more eco-friendly changes to their lifestyles. Rather than advertising a future in which cars fly and eating meat is illegal, Grankvist wants to make the conversation more human and centered on minute actions that can make a difference. He insists that while we must make fundamental changes to avoid the damning results of climate change, the future does’t need to be a wild evolution of today. “You can use approaches such as [portraying] the story of someone’s day—something pretty normal, like taking your bike to kindergarten, dropping your kids off, and then jumping on an electric bus to work,” he tells CityLab. “When you look closer, however, there’s a whole bunch of sustainable, climate-neutral solutions going on. That tells the inhabitants of Malmö that the future isn’t entirely frightening. We won’t have flying cars. It will be fairly similar, even though we have to make some fundamental changes.” Read more there.

A Custom 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Made for Off-Roading

Created at Wisconsin-based custom Porsche build shop, Kelly-Moss, this 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 is like no other. Built as an off-road vehicle, it features MOMO rims and fat, rugged tires that are made for going off piste. Along with “custom-made aluminum bodywork, Eibach springs, Brembo brakes, and LED light bars,” the car also features sport racing seats, steering wheel and pedals. Despite having just been unveiled at SEMA 2020 in Vegas, it’s already been purchased. See more at Cool Material.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.