In 1984, Ronald Reagan was president, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series, The Los Angeles Raiders won the Super Bowl, and Beverly Hills Cop was the biggest box office hit. Needless to say, a lot has changed since 1984, especially how many of our cities look. Google has recently released timelapse videos of 193 major cities across the world to show how much they have changed in the past 32 years.
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge the degree in which things change unless you can see it in context, that’s what’s so great about these videos. You might remember specific things about the city you’re from, but it’s hard to visualize all of those from ground level. All of the videos below have been shared on Youtube by the Google Earth team, but these are only a small portion of all the videos available. We chose the cities below, as they’re relevant to the construction industry and most have seen impressive growth over the past three decades. If you’re interested in viewing more, there are some other interesting videos of glaciers, rain forests, and bodies of water which can tell an interesting story. You can view the entire playlist by clicking here.
If you want even more interactivity, the Google Earth Engine website allows you to zoom and pan across the entire globe to get the exact view you want. I made the custom video below of several different areas of Dubai using the Timelapse Tour Editor:
Dubai has seen incredible growth over the past 32 years and obviously has an impressive collection of enormous towers, including the Burj Khalifa. I find the amount of man-made islands that the country has created particularly interesting.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
Construction Safety is talked about constantly. There are many construction companies that take it very seriously. There are also many that don’t. All will say it’s their top priority.
So what can a city do that’s facing regular worker deaths and increases in workplace injuries? New York City has decided to require extensive safety training for all of the 185,000 construction workers in the city.
Modular building makes a lot of sense: build repetitive structures in a controlled, factory-like setting and transport to the project site and assemble. It should be a more efficient and less expensive way to construct a building, but the truth is, it’s a lot harder than it looks. There’s also no written standard for doing it.
Masonry workers, specifically brick and block masons, have been around for centuries and are one of the construction industries oldest professions. Before blocks were prefabricated and purchased, masons had to cut the material by hand before placing. Recently, robotic brick and block placing robots have threatened to take some jobs away from human masons, but that technology is still a long way away from making a huge impact on the profession
Concrete can adapt to any shape its formwork calls for while it’s being placed. While it’s POSSIBLE to make intricate designs with the material, it’s not always easy or practical to do so. Researchers from ETH Zurich have designed a new method of forming and placing an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof system that they plan on installing on a construction project next year.
According to the Workzonesafety.com, nearly half (46%) of all work zone-associated worker fatalities from 2003-2010 were caused by being struck by a vehicle. Surprisingly, only around 2% of those workers were killed by a drunk driver. From 2003 to 2015 (the last year this data was updated), a total of 1324 work zone fatalities have been recorded, which averages to about 102 per year.
Residents living near a Jersey City, New Jersey construction site were frightened as they watched “explosions” of smoke coming out of holes in the ground.
For almost 80 years, the Old Kosciuszko Bridge connected Brooklyn and Queens in New York. Much like many other bridges its age, it is being replaced due to capacity issues and deterioration. When it was completed in 1939, it was built for 10,000 cars per day. Unfortunately for the people who needed to use that bridge that past few decades, around 180,000 cars used it.
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The immense technological growth the construction industry has seen in the past decade has been a refreshing change, to say the least. Fax machines, large filing cabinets, and redundant work are slowly becoming a thing of the past. More importantly, software developers are actually paying attention to the construction industry, making our lives collectively easier, while giving us more data to make better decisions. Bluebeam, maker of one of the industry’s favorite construction document software, has recently announced a wireless digital sensor specifically for under construction buildings.
Portable toilets are the setting for many pranks around a construction site, but I never thought there could be something worse than just getting stuck in one. Turns out I was extremely wrong, because a worker in New Orleans was run over by a dump truck while using the port-a-john.