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National Links: Dealing with the Heat

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.

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Race shaped America’s roads and cities: Racist practices such as bulldozing neighborhoods where people of color lived to build highways has shaped American roadways and cities. Following the path of least resistance, planners often built through Black neighborhoods and places where people had no decision making power.  Planning now, should focus on making sure access to amenities is not just reserved for white people or those with higher income. (Ashish Valentine | NPR)

The case for congestion pricing: LA is America’s most car centric country and is about to pilot a type of congestion pricing through a toll program for freeway drivers at peak hours starting 2021. For equity, low income drivers will garner a discount on the toll and in terms of travel time, congestion pricing is supposed to reduce that too. Along with environmental benefits, the lanes will require at least five passengers to be free. (Professor Donald Shoup | CityLab)

Making cities equitable for all genders: Female voices are often not heard in urban issues, even though issues such as gentrification, availability of restrooms, police defunding and more are all feminist issues. This is because our spaces and built environment are largely shaped by a single-gendered view and power relations. Our cities rarely reflect women, as they choose to focus on the traditional “breadwinner” and ignore the domestic side. In this interview Leslie Kern discusses her new book focusing on these issues, Feminist City. (Leilah Stone | Metropolis Magazine)

How Phoenix will deal with climate change: America’s hottest city has developed a plan to battle climate change. Currently Phoenix is a hot spot, not just in terms of temperature, but also coronavirus cases and protests; and communities of color are most under threat in all three cases. The city is thus developing a Heat Action Plan and are hoping to produce the innovations that’ll allow Phoenix to become a sustainable desert city and allow its residents to adapt. (Sarah Kaplan | Washington Post)

Gentrification fears in North Philly: A development plan for one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia is raising gentrification fears. Currently the developers have no obligation to provide affordable housing for low income communities, but a zoning change would require it, thus creating a sense of urgency to change laws. The development would not only break up a vibrant neighborhood of Latinos and Blacks, but also raise the median home price. (Jason Laughlin | Philadelphia Inquirer)

Quote of the Week

“Cities have become much more expensive, and housing is not the only factor. For non-college workers, you have a combination of changing wage structure and then rising prices, and the net effect is making cities less attractive for people without college degrees.”

David Autor in MIT News discussing how cities have stopped creating lower and middle class jobs for Black and Latino workers.

This week on the podcast, Brianne Eby of the Eno Center for Transportation joins us to talk congestion pricing.

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