The Tokyo Olympics aren’t as sustainable as we had hoped, the hotel construction pipeline is on the road to recovery, and China changes its mind about supertall buildings. All that and more in this week’s Five on Friday.

Greenwashing accusations mar 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The National Stadium at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were touted as the most sustainable games to date, but a new peer-reviewed study indicates it’s actually one of the least sustainable Olympics since 1992. Despite landmark designs—like the three-tiered stadium, designed by Kengo Kuma, Taisei Corporation, and Azusa Sekkei—this year’s long-awaited games are now saddled with accusations of greenwashing, or superficial sustainability commitments. The study asserts that a gradual increase in size since the 1992 Olympics has led to a chain reaction of social, environmental, and economic consequences that even the Tokyo games cannot overcome. It also argues that the international sporting event should ultimately be downsized and exclusively rotated among the same cities to minimize the need for new facilities and relieve residual social and environmental upheaval. Although the Tokyo Olympics will ultimately result in a net gain of 2.65 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it will still be the first to offset all emissions with carbon credits by way of retrofitting and upgrading existing venues.

Revel launches Tesla taxi fleet in New York

Shareable electric moped company Revel will introduce a fleet of 50 taxis in New York next month. Although Mayor Bill de Blasio capped the number of app-based, for-hire vehicles allowed to operate in the city three years ago, battery electric and wheelchair-accessible vehicles are exempt from that ruling, the New York Daily News reports. Beginning August 2nd, Tesla Model Y SUVs clad in Revel’s signature baby blue will be available for service below 42nd Street in Manhattan. Revel will hit the streets with 15 taxis and plans to roll out an additional 35 cars in the future. The company, which operates more than 3,000 electric mopeds throughout New York, is currently far outnumbered by nearly 80,000 vehicles on the streets that are offered via rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft.

China implements a ban on skyscrapers

The skyline of Beijing, China’s Central Business District

Undoubtedly the global leader in skyscraper development, China now boasts 10 of the 20 tallest buildings in the world. However, it may never add more to the list. According to Fast Company, the country’s National Development and Reform Commission has issued new rules that will prohibit the approval of new buildings that exceed 1,640 feet in height. Buildings taller than 820 feet will be slapped with new limitations as well, while any building beyond 328 feet in height must now match the spatial scale of the city to comply with local fire and rescue capabilities.

Rosewood unveils immersive architecture installation

This month, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco launched a dramatic new amenity, Casa Ojalà, situated in the heart of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia valley. As part of a partnership with Italian architect Beatrice Bonzanigo, the modular and movable architectural structure’s open-air design immerses guests in the idyllic natural scenery overlooking the 800-year-old property’s Sangiovese vineyards. Bonzanigo drew inspiration from the fictional Jules Verne submarine Nautilus to craft the 290-square-foot structure that boasts more than 1,000 possible configurations without ever changing its original shape. Sustainability was also paramount to the project, which comprises wood, fabric made from recycled plastic, and handmade ceramics.

LE: U.S. construction pipeline continues to recover

The recently opened Margaritaville Resort Times Square features architecture by Stonehill Taylor and interiors by the McBride Company; photo by Chris Leary

At the close of Q2 of 2021, the U.S. construction pipeline comprises 4,787 projects and 598,111 guestrooms. This reflects a 14-percent decrease year over year, almost entirely due to delays caused by COVID-19. During the first two quarters of the year, nearly 475 hotels and more than 59,000 guestrooms opened in the U.S., according Lodging Econometrics, which will ultimately yield a 2 percent increase in new supply for 2021. Another 1,008 hotels and 113,871 guestrooms are also slated to open next year—a 2 percent increase in new supply for 2022 as well.

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