Urban jungle: wooden high-rises change city skylines as builders ditch concrete

Mass timber projects in Portland and New York City offer eco-friendly dwellings, but can ‘plywood on steroids’ actually catch on in the industry?

The concrete jungle has a rival: forests. Two urban building projects, in New York City and Portland, Oregon, will be changing their city’s skylines with an environmentally sustainable, cost-competitive building material. The key ingredient? Wood.

Called mass timber, the material is an umbrella term for large, solid chunks of panelized wood. When used in buildings, the benefits are sky high: flexible, strong, fire resistant and carbon-sequestering. Mass timber could prove to be a viable alternative to concrete and steel for mid-to-high rise buildings.

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90:9:1 – the odd ratio that technology keeps creating

Mozilla has killed off its Firefox OS, leaving the mobile OS market dominated by Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Will technology always follow the same pattern?

What do operating systems, browsers and search engines all have in common? It seems to be a ratio of 90:9:1 between the key players. One player dominates; then others get a minimal share.

Take mobile OSs: This week the Mozilla Foundation pulled the plug on Firefox OS – the mobile OS which could have replaced native apps with HTML-based apps – a final death throe in the mobile OS wars. There are now three main platforms – Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone – for which worldwide shipments are currently running in a ratio of about 85:14:1 respectively.

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