National Links: Building the Dutch Cycling City

Every day at The Overhead Wire 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 streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Building the cycling city: David Roberts interviews Melissa and Chris Bruntlett, who wrote a new book about the Dutch way of building cities for bikes. One of the biggest lessons is that even the Dutch struggled politically to get to where they are today. The authors say we should learn from their process, and believe it can be replicated elsewhere. (David Roberts | Vox)

What if cities were designed by mothers?: What would cities look like if they were designed by a more diverse set of architects? In the UK, only 1 in 10 architects is a person of color and fewer than a third are women. When it feels like buses and public spaces have been designed by those that don’t use them, it’s only fair to ask what might happen if someone with lived experience does. (Christine Murray | Guardian)

Portland tries out bus islands: The Portland Bureau of Transportation is going to test prefabricated bus islands to smooth bicycle traffic flow and keep the bus moving straight down the street — and out of bike lanes. The islands snap together like legos and don’t block the curb bike lane, and provide a more level boarding surface for bus riders. (Jonathan Maus | Bike Portland)

A low emission zone is moving forward in London: In two of London’s boroughs, non-electric vehicles will be banned from certain streets during rush hour to help address the city’s air pollution problems. The city is planning to use CCTV to catch drivers who violate the rule and fine them. (Mattha Busby | Guardian)

A fight over potential LA sprawl: One of the last large plots of undeveloped land in California sits just north of Los Angeles. On the privately-owned 270,000-acre ranch, plans for a new community on 12,000 acres would bring more than 19,000 homes. As you can imagine, it’s going to be a fight for this 20-year project. (Nina Agrawal | Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Week

“Having a single-family home with a white picket fence has been the image of American success since the GI bill sought to increase homeownership in the aftermath of World War II. But tight mortgage credit, skyrocketing student loan debt, and a housing shortage have caused a fundamental shift toward renting. Homeownership, once deemed a requirement for economic mobility in the US, may no longer be an attainable part of the American dream.”

Jeff Andrews in Curbed, questioning whether a financial crisis could happen again, 10 years after the housing bubble popped.

On this week’s podcast we’re joined by architect Doug Farr, who chats with us about his new book “Sustainable Nation.”

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