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A historic European drought, a mega-city built on a thin, mirrored line & the principles of ‘designing for delight’

The Hark Friday 5 is our top 5 ESG, technology and sustainability stories of the week, curated by the Hark team.
Hark Friday Five

1. The Line megacity will “revolutionise our current way of life” says Neom director

A great idea or a terrible one? This is one that has people split down the middle, pardon the pun. But no matter which side you fall on, it can’t be denied that the concept is super-cool

The Line is an enormous linear megastructure planned for a 170-kilometre stretch across the Saudi Arabian desert. At 500 metres tall and 200 metres wide, it will form a key part of Neom – a renewable energy-powered region under development across Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

Sustainability and liveability claims of the Saudi 170-kilometre city are “naive” say experts. Qaddumi has a team dedicated to research into “green construction material” for The Line. The city will also be powered by renewable energy.

As a person who relies heavily on sunlight to keep the spring in my step, I’m not sure it’d be the place for me, but I’m excited to see how this idea develops.

2. Historic Drought Threatens to Cripple European Trade

My initial reaction to this was ‘great, first a health crisis, then an energy crisis and now a water crisis 🙄.’ – a potentially cynical look into current affairs, but with that said, there are ways we can help (see #3).

From the Rhine to the Danube, waterways are failing at the worst possible moment as the climate crisis worsens. Europe is already on the brink of recession as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuels inflation by squeezing food and energy supplies.

Rivers and canals contribute $80 billion to the region’s economy just as a mode of transport. At the southern end of the Rhine Gorge, terraced vineyards have turned brown… Not good.

3. Yorkshire Water hosepipe ban confirmed as rainfall is lowest for last 130 years

More drought-related news for those of us in Yorkshire…

Yorkshire Water has announced that it will introduce a hosepipe ban later this month. The region is experiencing the lowest rainfall in more than 130 years. Hot, dry weather and lack of rainfall means Yorkshire’s reservoirs are around 20% lower than normal for this time of year.

A hosepipe ban will come into effect on 26th August for activities such as watering gardens and cleaning vehicles and boats. The ban is based on the risk that water stocks continue to fall in the coming weeks, and the need to be cautious about clean water supplies.

So what’s banned exactly… Well activities such as:

  • Watering a garden using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning vehicles or boats using a hosepipe
  • Watering plants with a hosepipe
  • Filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool
  • Drawing water, using a hosepipe, for domestic recreational use
  • Cleaning walls or windows of domestic premises using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning paths or patios using a hosepipe
  • Cleaning other artificial outdoor surfaces using a hosepipe

But it’s for a good cause – better no hosepipe than no water if you ask me.

4. Climate scientists chase Arctic storms

While we’re on the topic of climate change, here another interesting article from the BBC this week.

Scientists are “chasing” Arctic cyclones over the sea ice, north of Norway. Yes, I also wasn’t aware that ‘Artic cyclones’ were a thing.

Cyclones’ passage triggers a two-way process: the storms affect the ice, and the ice roughness, temperature and movement impact the storms. Their measurements will build a picture of how storms interact with sea ice.

5. Guiding principles to design for delight

“Design for delight by anticipating needs beyond the obvious so you can offer moments of joy.”

Here’s something slightly more delightful to round-off this weeks round-up.

Blinkist’s design team set out to build a common understanding of what “designing for delight” means. After piles of digital stickily notes, messy Miro boards, and Figma files, they came up with a simple set of principles that sums up how they think about designing for delight.

If there’s one thing we can agree with, it’s the concept of designing to delight and making UX a central part of your offering.

Thanks for sticking with me for this week’s Hark Friday Five, as always if you’ve seen a story we’ve missed or got a change then we’re here for it.

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