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.
BONUS CONTENT – This week we released an episode of the podcast with Lisa Bender. Hope folks enjoy it!
Ending chronic homelessness: Three cities in the United States have ended chronic homelessness and nine more have ended veteran homelessness. Now 50 more cities will be using a program called Built for Zero which uses data and to catalogue and monitor homeless residents in real time so that thier housing needs can be addressed by city staff. The term “zero” in the program name comes from the potential for cities to reach the goal of having “functional zero” homelessness. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)
Pricing strategies to decongest cities: As more people become comfortable with the idea of congestion pricing in cities and technology makes the process more feasible, places are starting to take a more serious look at the strategy. While the primary examples of pricing in international cities indicate that there are multiple benefits to reducing traffic, ancillary benefits such as better access, reduced polution, and increased revenues for alternatives arise. But the key for measuring success and keeping public acceptance high will be the correct allocation of funding for these programs. (Rob Puentes | Eno Center for Transportation)
The land tax less traveled: Why aren’t land taxes such as the one Henry George advocated implemented in more cities? Rick Rybeck argues that as the land taxes were taking off, major universities began teaching that land should be lumped in with capital instead of as its own type of resource. “Investment” he says is the creation of something new that enhances future production and that what we call property investment is really just speculation. (Rick Rybeck | Strong Towns)
Color and movable chairs: In 1965 Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Prominade was closed to cars and made into a pedestrian mall. A remodel and focus on movie theaters and other attractions in the 1980s making the Prominade a popular destination for shoppers and strollers alike. But lately sales have been down and the mall looks a bit gray. With the help of Gehl Santa Monica has been looking at ways to spruce up the space and make people want to linger. This includes different types of brightly colored grouped chairs that support staying and playing for its 19 million visitors a year. (Merle Ginsberg | Los Angeles Magazine)
An airplane warning for automobile AVs: The Boeing 737 Max has been grounded around the world, and the most recent crash of the jet in Ethiopia brings to light the fact that we should really be wary of driver assist technologies in cars as well. According to some pilots, automation has made it so that there’s more to learn about flying a plane than ever, since these systems need to be understood to be used correctly such as is potentially the case of the 737 Max. But the more autonomous features are given to unwary humans in cars, the more potential there is for driving disaster. (Henry Grabar | Slate)
Quote of the Week
“For all the talk in the suburbs around being closer to nature, the nature in question is both ersatz and an ecological horrorshow.”
Kate Wagner in Curbed discussing the issue with lawns and perhaps why we shouldn’t have them at all.
This week on the podcast Matthias Buehler and David Wasserman talk about how to use CityEngine to create 3D urban landscapes for movies and planning.
The Third Street Promenade is what Nicollet Mall could be if we added some planters blocking traffic and maybe host food trucks during the summer. Not a huge investment, just like the initial $700,000 that Santa Monica spent.