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New lift technology is reshaping cities

In the future, new types of sideways-scooting lifts could link up whole clusters of buildings. Transport hubs could house lifts serving a range of local buildings, moving first horizontally, then vertically. Or the lifts could zip between their tops on skybridges. It took trees hundreds of million of years to evolve the structural systems and internal plumbing needed for wide-spreading boughs, thus making possible the wonderfully rich ecosystems of rainforest canopies. Lateral lifts could make canopy cities possible before Otis’s patent sees its bicentenary. Having let cities climb into the sky, the lift may now help them spread across it.


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