Technology is reshaping cities—often without permission and sometimes without a clue. On Technopolis, the new weekly podcast from CityLab launching today, hosts Molly Turner, an urban innovation expert, and climate negotiator-turned startup advisor Jim Kapsis ask what needs to change for technology to help solve more problems than it creates. In the first season, the duo will explore topics like self-driving cars, battery-powered cities, housing start-ups, food delivery, robot baristas, and how these innovations may shape the urban spaces of tomorrow.
The first episode of Technopolis is out today on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher, with Turner and Kapsis following the money behind the billion dollar landscape of urban technology startups. The hosts interview Jason Calacanis, technology entrepreneur and angel investor, and Warren Logan, senior transportation planner with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, to understand why investors are pouring massive funding into companies disrupting urban environments and how city officials are adapting to a venture-backed world.
Technopolis marks CityLab’s debut in the podcast space. The inaugural season is underwritten by WeWork.
“The purpose of this podcast is to chart the transformative potential of these innovations on the the way our cities function—for better and for worse,” said Nicole Flatow, editor of CityLab. “The technology revolution is one of the biggest stories of our time. But its effects on cities aren't getting the attention they deserve. City residents are living the experiments with ride-hailing, electric scooters, housing apps, and drone delivery, and we want to zoom out to the bigger-picture implications.”
Jim Kapsis is startup advisor, sustainability evangelist, and former government official. Jim founded The Ad Hoc Group Inc., an advisory firm that helps startups succeed in complex regulated markets with a focus on industries that are essential to advancing a sustainable future. He has been a Senior Advisor to Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet’s urban venture, and spent six years building and leading the global regulatory team at Opower, Inc., an energy efficiency software company that sold to Oracle in 2016. Jim has served in multiple levels of government, including as a climate negotiator in the Obama Administration. Jim lives with his wife and three daughters in Alexandria, Virginia where he serves on the board of the city's transit company and on its environmental policy commission.
Molly Turner is an urban planner and tech policy pioneer. She is a leading voice on urban innovation as a Lecturer at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, an advisor to civic startups, and a board member of urban policy think tank SPUR. Turner was an early employee of Airbnb, where she established the company’s public policy team in 2011 and directed its partnerships with cities for five years as the Global Head of Civic Partnerships. Before working in tech, Turner worked for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the UNESCO World Heritage Cities Program, and an urban planning consulting firm. Turner holds a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University and a BA from Dartmouth College.
CityLab was started by The Atlantic in 2011 and has become the leading resource for urban journalism, reaching over two million unique readers a month. CityLab investigates the trends and innovative solutions shaping our urban future. Through sharp analysis, original reporting, and visual storytelling, our coverage focuses on the biggest ideas and most pressing issues facing the world’s metro areas and neighborhoods.
Hugo Rojo, The Atlantic / firstname.lastname@example.org