Welcome back to another Tuesday, rife with tech, architecture, and transportation news to digest.
Here’s what you need to know today:
Apple employees are up in arms over the return to IRL offices
As employers push for workers to return to their physical offices, the pushback from those used to working from home is only increasing. That’s also playing out at Apple, as employees are reportedly pushing back against Tim Cook’s mandate that the company’s 2,800 remote workers would need to start coming back into the office three days each week starting this fall. In a leaked letter obtained by The Verge, employees feel that their voices are being ignored and that they should have the option to work remotely permanently.
“Without the inclusivity that flexibility brings, many of us feel we have to choose between either a combination of our families, our well-being, and being empowered to do our best work, or being a part of Apple. This is a decision none of us take lightly, and a decision many would prefer not to have to make,” reads the letter.
H/t to The Verge
French architects grapple with timber shortages
A mandate that French architects must build with at least 50 percent timber in their projects is clashing with rapidly rising material costs. The new requirement is part of France’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, but as timber prices have risen by at least 50 percent since the start of 2021, material shortages and work stoppages are becoming common—even as French oak is being exported to China where builders are willing to pay more for it.
H/t to Dezeen
The U.K.’s top architect steps down
Andy von Bradsky, hired by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in 2019 to help guide and improve the quality of public housing projects, has reportedly quit his post. Von Bradsky will reportedly leave in July, and has given no indication of whether he plans to continue practicing professionally, though he told the Architects’ Journal that he doesn’t plan on retiring.
H/t to Architects’ Journal
Governor Cuomo nominates the next head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Andy Byford resigned as head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) 16 months ago (allegedly after clashing with New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo), but now the Governor has finally nominated a permanent replacement. If approved, Interim President Sarah Feinberg, who steered the agency through the pandemic (and controversially advocated for more police on subway trains and platforms), would shift to permanently overseeing New York City’s subways, buses, and commuter rail lines. Feinberg is a close ally of Cuomo, a departure compared to her predecessor’s detached and more technical approach. If approved by the New York State Senate, Feinberg would be the first woman to lead the agency.
H/t to the New York Times
Amazon is networking all of its home products together into one big web
Today Amazon is activating its Sidewalk network, which will automatically link your Amazon smart home devices together—and your neighbors’. Working together under one network will allow cross-functionality down the line and help Amazon create a unified smart home ecosystem, but the main benefit is that if one device loses service, it can piggyback off of another’s internet connection in range and remain functional. This comes with a slew of privacy issues, but users can opt of Sidewalk and disable it (that’s important to note as it’s turning on by default).
H/t to Wired
A noose was found on a Merck vaccine center construction site
What seems to be an ongoing epidemic of potential hate crimes continues, as yet another noose was found at another construction site. According to an email reportedly sent to employees on June 5, pharmaceutical giant Merck reportedly discovered a noose on its Durham, North Carolina, construction site. A $105.4 million facility to manufacture Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines is currently being built there. The company is currently investigating the incident.
H/t to Construction Dive