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SmithGroup-designed public restroom debuts in San Francisco

The number of toilets accessible to the public could be as low as eight per 100,000 people in the U.S., according to one estimate, inconveniencing the general populace and exacerbating the nation’s homeless problem. Some cities, such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., have, in recent years, launched programs to install public restrooms. The city of Portland, Ore., has placed its freestanding, gender-neutral restroom, known as The Portland Loo, in more than 20 metros. And now SmithGroup has gotten into the act. On December 1 the firm celebrated the launch of its design for AmeniPODS, which is part of a new generation of public amenities that includes toilets, advertising, interactive information, and micro-retail kiosks.



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Contractors

U.S. construction firms lean on technology to manage growth and weather the pandemic

In 2021, Gilbane Building Company and Nextera Robotics partnered in a joint venture to develop an artificial intelligence platform utilizing a fleet of autonomous mobile robots. The platform, dubbed Didge, is designed to automate construction management, maximize reliability and safety, and minimize operational costs. This was just one of myriad examples over the past 18 months of contractor giants turning to construction technology (ConTech) to gather jobsite data, manage workers and equipment, and smooth the construction process.


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Number of office-to-apartment conversion projects has jumped since start of pandemic

As remote work rose and demand for office space declined since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, developers have found converting some offices to residential use to be an attractive option. Apartment conversions rose 25% in the two years since the start of the pandemic, with 28,000 new units converted from other property types, according to a report from RentCafe. 



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