National Links: Some Infrastructure Ideas for the Future

Seward co-op

Seward Co-op, Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis

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 D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Fighting Covid Recession with Infrastructure: With the economy shut down as the nation increasingly shelters in place, fiscal policy alone is not enough to counter a coronavirus recession. The best way to fight it is developing the nation’s infrastructure, from improving broadband access to expanding the energy grid. By making infrastructure more expansive and efficient, not only would the US finally bring itself up to par with other developed nations, but also it would increase energy efficiency, create jobs, and improve accessibility. (Shai Kivity | World Economic Forum)

Bringing Beauty to Denver’s Streets: Laura Aldrete stepped in as executive director of Denver’s Community Planning and Development Department in a time of unprecedented growth. With a background in cultural anthropology and urban planning, she brings a global perspective to city-building. This makes her approach to urban beauty a well-rounded perspective that also includes economic development, climate resilience, equity, and affordability. From small-area plans to ADUs to solar roofs, she has been spending the past three years developing a unique vision for Denver. (Kasey Cordell | 5280)

Coronavirus Is Exposing Airbnb: Landlords worldwide are suddenly losing large sources of income as travelers cancel their short-term rentals. While the Internet has been quick to empathize with other industries hit by coronavirus losses, responses to Airbnb and landlords who use the platform were not as warm. Now, several housing markets worldwide have noticed a sudden massive increase in rental housing as landlords must fill their formerly short-term units. (Olga Lexell | Daily Dot)

Is Covid-19 Accelerating Automation: With a coronavirus recession worsening an economy driven majorly by in-person jobs, informal work, and under-employment, the future of many jobs is at a crossroads. Because of new innovations such as open source furniture, which you can 3D print yourself, or brick-laying robots, we could be on the verge of human-free production and construction. These technologies have already begun to creep slowly into our economy, but will the pandemic provide more reason to expand these technologies more rapidly? (Fabian Dejtiar | ArchDaily)

50 Years of Minnesota’s Grocery Activism: Minnesota’s Cooperative Grocers network has more than 50 food co-ops listed, more than twice as many as California. Minnesota’s countercultural activists of the 1970s promoted a new ecological consciousness, participatory democracy, and sustainable local economies, thus leading to the creation of the co-op. These entities stem from and support local communities, and by providing opportunities for participatory democracy within hyper-local communities, co-ops operate a market without attempting to maximize profit at any cost. (Craig Upright | City Pages)

Quote of the Week

“If there is a lesson to be learned, it is this: the aftermath of calamity is dangerous too. We must all be vigilant; a sickness of the body can also poison the mind of the body politic.”

Miri Rubin in The Conversation discussing the aftermath of plague and famine in Europe during the middle ages.

This week on the podcast, Lindiwe Rennert of Boston’s Department of Transportaiton talks about transit priority on Warren Street in Boston.

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