Young & Resilient

Some of the world’s brightest young innovators are answering the challenges of resilient cities. The MIT Technology Review’s new list of “35 Innovators Under 35” includes several people who are thinking creatively about strengthening urban economies, solving natural resource problems, and more:

Epidemiologist Caroline Buckee is harnessing a ready-made information sharing network—millions of cell phones and cell signal towers—to prevent disease. She’s working on ways to use location data from cell phones to avert malaria outbreaks in Africa.

Designer Enrique Lomnitz focused on sustainable, low-cost housing as a student at the Rhode Island College of Design. Now he is back in his hometown of Mexico City, developing alternative ways to gather and filter drinking water. He sees the project as one step to solving the megacity’s water shortage.

Evans Wadongo links urban resilience and rural development by way of a solar powered LED lantern. The lamps are produced in a Nairobi factory, using scrap metal and other low-cost materials, by workers who are paid a fair wage. The villagers who use them get much cleaner indoor air, and invest the money they’d otherwise spend on kerosene into building local businesses (including buying and re-selling LED lanterns). Wadongo’s enterprise has distributed 32,000 lamps so far and is expanding fast.

Stanford researcher Xiaolen Zheng has invented a flexible solar power sticker that can turn any surface into an energy source. The sticker is one-tenth the thickness of plastic food wrap, but produce as much electricity as a rigid cell made of identical materials.

Read the entire list and be inspired.
Photo: Children using Evans Wadongo’s solar lamp, Evans Wadongo