National Links: Bike Deliveries, McMansions Over, and Printing a House

Every day at The Direct Transfer we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

You can make a house out of a 3D printer: Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, constructed a 409 square foot house in Russia that cost just over $10,000. With a tent protecting it from the elements of a frozen Russian winter, the frame of the house was constructed using a single 3D printing crane layering concrete while windows, floors, and appliances went on after. (New Atlas)

McMansions are falling out of favor:  The McMansion, which architecture critics have long derided, is beginning to fall out of favor with American homebuyers. They were popular before the housing crisis, but these days builders are favoring quality over quantity for new buyers, and people aren’t as interested in seven-bedroom status symbols. (Business Insider)

On-demand van rides in Kansas City failed… sort of: An experiment to bring app-based van transportation to Kansas City only saw 1,480 riders use the $1.3m service in a year. Local and federal officials say the project was still a success, though, because they learned about who uses these types of services and why. (Wired)

Making a suburb into a city: King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, home to one of the United States’ earliest malls, is embarking on a journey to turn itself into a walkable suburb. There’s a new downtown and dense apartment buildings, along with (ghasp!) parallel parking, which is new to the locals. But if a suburb builds the trappings of a city, does that make it so?  (Philadelphia Magazine)

How to achieve sustainability through bike deliveries: Shipping company DHL is piloting a type of container that fits perfectly onto bikes. Trucks bring the containers into a downtown center and cyclists deliver them to their final destination. The company is tesing the idea in Frankfurt and Utrect, and early signs say they’re a huge environmental win over big trucks that often spend lots of time looking for parking or idling.

Quote of the Week

“A great race towards autonomy is underway and companies are vying to introduce the first driverless cars to our roadways. However, while US drivers are eager to buy vehicles equipped with autonomous technology, they continue to fear a fully self-driving vehicle.”

– Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations on a recent survey that showed Americans are freaked out by autonomous vehicles.

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer