Oh my, but it has been a lively week on streets.mn. After the late summer lassitude, streets.mn writers have roared back with more meaty posts than we’ve seen in any single week for quite a while. And, although we don’t try to set a theme, this week’s posts manage to cohere around American cultural icons (cars, single family homes) and how our rhetoric reinforces these ideas.
Why Aren’t We Building Affordable Houses Anymore? is more accurately about another question asked and answered by Monte Castleman: “So what do you do if you’re lower middle class and want a [new, single-family detached] house today? You either have to settle for new multi-family housing instead, or a used house.” Answers proposed for why that lower middle class person does not have the choice of a new, affordably priced house include consumer demand, developer preference and policy decisions. Commenters take up both the details (providing useful information on such things as construction costs and consumer trends) as well as identifying the bias inherent in “settling” for either a “used” house or “stack and pack” multi-family housing.
High Rises and the Transect looks at high rise (6 or more stories) residential buildings and opposition to them. Rather than trying to put these buildings only with others like them, Alex Cecchini provides numerous examples of neighborhoods where buildings from different transects coexist very nicely: “we need to be more willing to accept development that feels out of context” and “focus less on building height, density, even a structure’s design elements and instead bring our attention to the public realm” rather than protecting private interests by keeping big buildings out. The comment section includes a conversation between Monte Castleman and Alex Cecchini about preserving neighborhood character and/or expectations, as well as many others considering how expectations, politics, and other factors play into building (or fighting) high rise buildings.
Other interesting stuff
Sectors of the Twin Cities Metro Area looks at how the metro area gets carved up for advertising or cable TV service and wonders out loud how well those generalizations work and “How else do we think about the different chunks of the metro area? Wealth? Biomes? Shades of vinyl siding? Grocery store preference? Religiosity? Preferred bad TV shows?” Shut Up and Take My Money…Before I Board is a quick piece advocating for an “off-board fare collection mechanism” to speed up bus boarding and travel times which take our cash, card or smart phone payment while we’re waiting for the bus.
Video: Gil Penalosa 8-80 Presentation in Saint Paul is the approximately hour-long video of Gil Penalosa’s recent talk in Saint Paul about building equity and activity into cities.
Charts of the Day of the Week: Two charts this week more or less related to the week’s theme of the cultural supremacy of the automobile and the suburbs: Climbing “Mount Auto” (from the new book “The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport,”by streets.mn writers David Levinson and Kevin Krizek) and Road Funding by Source (via Strong Towns).
Photo-journeys: Two posts show us places and experiences. A Year as a Bike Delivery Guy takes us around the Twin Cities to the (widely varied) places where sandwiches needed to be delivered. Main Street – Grand Marais, Minnesota continues David Levinson’s Greater Minnesota (and a bit beyond) road trips.
Comic: Roadkill Bill: Part 6 of Vincent Van Gogh in America continues Ken Avidor’s saga of the cloning of Vincent Van Gogh.
As September cruises into deep Autumn and the Autumnal Equinox this week, we know you’ll start to hunker down inside at your keyboard. Perhaps you saw something this week to get you thinking? Perhaps you’re editing those summer photos and see a story emerging? Think out loud and write about it for us (or join our thoughtful, non-troll comment conversations). Have a great week!