Greg Lindsay

Future and Technology, Globalization, Urbanization and Innovation Expert

Greg Lindsay is a journalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. Lindsay is also a senior fellow at the New Cities Foundation, where he leads the Connected Mobility Initiative exploring the future of smart cities and networked transportation, sponsored by the Toyota Mobility Foundation. He’s a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative, which identifies and analyzes emergent threats and opportunities to national security as part of the council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Greg Lindsay is also a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.

Greg Lindsay’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, The Financial Times, McKinsey Quarterly, Inc., The Atlantic, Quartz, The New Republic, Politico, The Economist Group, The World Economic Forum, The Nikkei Asian Review, European Management Journal, World Policy Journal, Next City, Time, Wired, New York, Slate, Marie Claire Italia, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and Departures. He was previously a contributing writer for Fortune and an editor-at-large for Advertising Age.

Lindsay speaks frequently about globalization, innovation, and the future of cities, most recently at Sandia National Laboratories, the U.K. Treasury, the OECD, Harvard Business School, the MIT Media Lab, Deloitte, and McKinsey. His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2012. His work has also been displayed at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, and Habitat III. Greg Lindsay is also (slowly) writing his second book, Engineering Serendipity, with the generous support of the Knight Foundation.

He’s been cited as an expert on the future of travel, technology and urbanism by The New York Times, The Washington Post,  The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, USA Today, CNN, NPR, and the BBC. He has advised Intel, Samsung, Starbucks, Audi, Chrysler, Tishman Speyer, British Land, André Balazs Properties, Emaar, and Expo 2020, among many other organizations, and is currently Urbanist-in-Residence at Urban-X — BMW Mini’s urban tech accelerator.

He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. Greg Lindsay is a two-time Jeopardy! champion (and the only human to go undefeated against IBM’s Watson)

Topic Presentations

Six years ago, Uber was an obscure app and autonomous cars were science fiction leftover from The Jetsons. Today, Uber is a $62 billion behemoth, Google and Tesla are leading a breakneck autonomous arms race, and their respective competitors Lyft and General Motors have promised to transform urban mobility by combining.

How are these technologies already transforming the way we see, understand, and get around cities? What effects will they have on where we live, work and play, and what are the opportunities and threats for automakers, technology firms, public transit, employers, and developers?

Drawing upon his work with both New York University and the New Cities Foundation, Greg Lindsay offers four futures of connected mobility and how they promise to transform American cities in the coming decades.

Innovation can’t be scheduled but it can be designed. Greg Lindsay tells how innovative organizations such as Google, Facebook, Zappos, and MIT are engineering serendipity, harnessing social networks and new ways of working to cultivate the discovery of new ideas, inspire collaboration and creativity, and to spur employee engagement, learning and innovation.

How, where, and who we work with will never be the same again.

  • How did China become the “world’s factory?”

  • Why are Americans checking into Bangkok for heart surgery?

  • How did Africa become a breadbasket for the Middle East?

What all of these things have in common is that they were made possible by the explosive growth in air travel. The combination of Internet and jet engine is redrawing the world map, creating new winners and losers among countries, cities, companies, and individuals.

Greg Lindsay, author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next, explores the rules, threats, and vast opportunities afforded by the new highways in the sky.

Humans are an urban species — more than half of us now live in cities. And our numbers will double by 2050 to more than 7 billion people, equal to the number alive on Earth right now. Every challenge we face will by definition become an urban one, whether solving poverty, adapting to climate change, finding homes and opportunities for immigrants, creating jobs and growth, and simply how to get around.

Greg Lindsay speaks frequently about the future of cities, most recently at the Atlantic Council, the Urban Land Institute, and the New America Foundation. He directs the Emergent Cities Project at the World Policy Institute, exploring what lessons struggling cities like Detroit can learn from dynamic ones such as Nairobi. His work with Studio Gang Architects on the future of suburbia was displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2012, and he is currently working with OMA/AMO to explore the intersection of the office with the city, the cloud, and Big Data. Popular topics include “smart cities;” urban mobility; cities and immigration; making cities more resilient to climate change, and how work is changing in cities.

The future isn’t what it used to be. As the pace of social, technological, and environmental change accelerates, organizations are struggling to make sense of the present, let alone spot threats and opportunities looming over the horizon. The ability to anticipate, understand, plan for, and innovate around uncertainty has become a critical skill for designers, innovators, and strategists everywhere. As the computing pioneer Alan Kay once said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Futurist, journalist, author and scholar Greg Lindsay delivers a crash course in exactly that. The practice of creating futures, or “foresight,” offers a toolkit and framework for detecting signals of change, organizing insights, synthesizing possible futures, identifying potential barriers and opportunities, and designing innovative products, services or ideas that satisfy emerging needs. In addition to lecturing on possible futures, Greg is available to lead participants through a fun, fast-paced workshop in which they create futures of their own.

After two years apart, Americans have forgotten how to work together. This is evident in the ongoing tug-of-war over the office. This framing — are we better off alone or in-person? — has dominated debates about our post-pandemic destiny. But neither managers nor workers have stopped to ask what it means to be together, whom we should be together with, and how we can be together. If the overnight adoption of remote work proved many of us can work from virtually anywhere, with anyone, what’s stopping us from taking it a step further and working with, well, everyone? Because solving the challenges that lie ahead of us on the far side of the pandemic requires working together at a scale greater than any one government or company ever has.

In this far-reaching new talk, Greg Lindsay explores new ways of being and working together in a world in which corporate silos have cracked open and frustrated employees have spilled out, desperate to reconnect. Drawing upon dozens of post-pandemic examples as well as his own web3 experiments in building a distributed autonomous organization, or DAO, he offers audiences a vision of what it means to be together — how, why, and with whom — very soon.

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Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next

Aerotropolis explores how air travel is responsible for the look and shape – and winners and losers – of globalization to date, exploring in unsettling detail how cities such as Dallas, Detroit, Hong Kong and Dubai are re-inventing themselves to compete. We once built cities around harbors or railroads, but the ones rising today are taking shape around something else: the airport. These cities have a name – the aerotropolis – and they’re being paved in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as each region prepares to take its place on the world stage. “Greg is a very energetic speaker who had an immense wealth of knowledge that was apparent to the entire audience. One hour gave us only a glimpse into the fascinating ideas and research that Greg presented.” Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors Greg was a smooth, polished, and beguiling speaker, alternately informing, challenging and making his audiences laugh! INTEL "Greg Lindsay took us from 30,000 feet – trends in the world – to 15,000 feet – showing us trends that pertain to our industry specifically – to 5,000 feet – where to go. He was excellent." Global Workspace Association

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