Delivery Trucks

National Links: Mapping America’s Food Supply Chain

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 that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

America’s First Food Supply Chain Map: A team of researchers at the University of Illinois developed the first high-resolution map of the US food supply chain. It offers a comprehensive look at all food flows between counties in the US, from fruits and vegetables to grains to animal feed. Eight different databases were used to assemble the map, including international port data and tracking data of items shipped around the country. (Megan Konar | Fast Company)

How Minneapolis Defeated NIMBYism: The new Minneapolis 2040 plan upzones the city to allow two and three-family buildings on previously single-family lots, tripling the potential number of housing units in the city. But to get there, housing advocates laid the groundwork for this reform years ago by focusing the discussion on the victims of exclusionary zoning policies, educating the public on a subject they might not have known about. Then in 2017, residents voted for a mayor and city-council president who were relatively young and understood the affordability crisis from thier own experiences. Add in the efforts of labor unions and increased accessibility to public meetings and Minneapolis was able to take a first step against NIMBYism. (Richard D. Kahlenberg | The Atlantic)

E-Commerce Brings Chaos to NYC: In New York City, 1.5 million packages are delivered daily. UPS and FedEx delivery trucks, which double-park on streets and block bus and bike lanes, racked up more than 471,000 parking violations last year, up 34% from 2013. Between 2009 and 2017, daily deliveries to New York City households tripled to more than 1.1 million shipments. Households now receive more shipments than businesses, pushing trucks into neighborhoods they had previously ventured. (Matthew Haag & Winnie Hu | New York Times)

Cities Don’t Need Hipsters to Prosper: As cities recover from post-industrial decline, many look to global powerhouses like New York or London to emulate their economic growth. But cities should embrace thier own unique niches, rather than following in others footsteps. Labels like “creative cities” or practices like “artwashing” draw in economic growth, but often lead to displacement and rocketing land costs. Tourism and economic development might be improved when a city celebrates its own cultural assets, rather than installing some murals and opening a craft brewery. (Emily Hopkins | The Conversation)

Zoning Won’t Save Chicago’s Manufacturing: Chicago has 15 Planned Manufacturing Districts, or PMDs, which restricts development to only manufacturing. The city created PMDs more than 30 years ago to preserve manufacturing jobs as deindustrialization was peaking. Although useful, PMDs have not reversed the process or revitalized communities suffering from decades of disinvestment. Market forces and developer pressures have left the city’s first PMD empty, providing an impetus to change the zoning. Two other PMDs on the North Side have been reduced 50% and 75% and manufacturing jobs continue to decline in the city. (Maria Inez Zamudio & Natalie Moore | WBEZ)

Quote of the Week

“Wouldn’t you love it if your city was famous for music? A rich and vibrant music scene brings a lot of happiness. It’s like air-it’s important. You need to have that in your life just to remind you that life’s worth living.”

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl discussing music at the City Lab conference in DC this last week.

This week on the podcast, Beth Osborne of T4 and Chris McCahill of the State Smart Transportation Initiative talk about new ways to prioritize projects.

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