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.
We now know reduced traffic, can we sustain it?: A transportation experiment on an unprecedented scale is happening. Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have dropped at least 53% in US cities and it seems to be coming mostly from information and management jobs according to data analyzed by researchers at Brookings. The question now is whether these reduced rates can be sustained to support climate and transportation goals as cities and states start to resume commerce. (Lara Fishbane & Adie Tomer | Brookings)
A new model for sustainability: The City of Amsterdam will try a new way of thinking going forward after the Coronavirus lockdowns subside: the doughnut model. The idea is to change economic thinking away from consumption that outstrips the planet’s resources and instead focus on meeting the core needs of citizens while also living within the planet’s available resources. The resulting methodology doesn’t solve problems, but allows decision makers to see them from a different perspective of fairness and balance. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)
A harsh future for American cities: For centuries cities have gone in and out of crisis that mirror the current pandemic. At the end is a celebration and perhaps a bit of over indulgence. But the pain during these crisis are harsh and relentless. The future of America is unknown but for the next few years its possible we could see many businesses end and arts disappear as the federal government fails to deal with the virus. Then comes the austerity. (Steve Levine | Gen)
Lessons from China’s transport recovery: As China has started opening up businesses, people have started moving about cities. To make travel more palatable for a scared public, China has rethought safety including driver uniforms, rider distancing, and contactless payment requirements. There have also been more opportunities for bike share, and more efficient urban freight methodologies like last mile common carrier programs. (Daizong Liu/Lulu Xue/Tina Huang | The City Fix)
Future empty offices and malls an opportunity for housing: The coming recession is scary for a lot of people including retailers and restaurants that have seen demand dry up overnight. But this isn’t just a small business problem, it’s a commercial real estate problem and a city government problem as taxes dry up as well. As more and more space becomes available without new tenents to take the old tenents place, it might be time to think of a new strategy for the buildings; new housing. (Jon Evans | Tech Crunch)
Quote of the Week
“I urge the government and boroughs to work with us to enable Londoners to switch to cleaner, more sustainable forms of transport and reduce the pressure on other parts of our transport network once the lockdown is eased.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan in The Guardian discussing the expected ten fold increase in cycling after coronavirus restrictions are eased.
This week on the podcast, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner talks about the city’s Complete Communities program.