National Links: Rich People Have Big Homes, More Emissions

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.

How discussions of ‘Neighborhood Character’ reinforce structural racism: In St. Paul long after racial covenants have been deemed immoral and illegal, the language of ‘neighborhood character’, a shorthand for continued exclusion, still exists in the language of the city’s zoning code. This reinforcement of structural racism through the words and ideas behind ‘neighborhood character’ disempowers communites of color while empowering primarily white and affluent homeowners. (Gretchen Brown | Rewire)

Transit’s role in racial justice: The US has long failed to address equity and racism in transportation investments but we have an opportunity to make changes. In this piece Darnell Grisby, Director of Policy Development and Research at APTA argues there are three things we can do to start down that road; by addressing regional transit governance, focus on the larger policy environment outside transit, and reform CEO recruitment policies at transit agencies that keep qualified Black people from getting the job. (Darnell Grisby | CityLab)

Street design is important bike technology: The most important bike technology is street design and infrastructure to protect people on bikes and encourage bicycle use in cities. This is made clear by two examples of bike investments that led to safer outcomes and more riders. In Lisbon, the city invested in 100km of infrastructure leading to a 17 fold increase in bike use. And in Toronto, researchers believe that there are hidden riders waiting to be found after connecting safer infastructure to more riders. (Eric Jaffe | Sidewalk Talk)

Rich Americans emit more greenhouse gases: Wealthier Americans tend to have high emissions, but this is compounded when thier larger homes are factored into calculations. Per capita, wealthier Americans tend to have 25% higher carbon footprints than thier peers and this is likely to create problems as current emissions from buildings are often locked in during construction for thier full lifespan, despite electrification or new technologies. (Lloyd Alter | TreeHugger)

NOACA will measure equity before building interchanges: Cleveland’s MPO NOACA is creating a policy on interchanges which attempts to look beyond congestion and safety and consider the future environmental justice implications of highway construction. After recognizing that highways “reward some areas while penalizing others” the new policy would quantify whether the interchanges would exacerbate existing problems. (Steven Litt | Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Quote of the Week

“We are not here to expropriate. What we want is for apartments to be rented, if the answer is no, we will open the file and they will go to expand the city’s public housing sector.”

Barcelona city housing commissioner Lucia Martín in CityLab discussing the plan to purchase and rent vacant apartments to increase supply.

This week on the podcast, California Planning and Development Report’s Josh Stephens joins us for a two part episode on his new book The Urban Mystique. (Part 1 | Part 2)

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3 Responses to National Links: Rich People Have Big Homes, More Emissions

  1. Elizabeth Larey July 29, 2020 at 4:37 pm #

    It seems like it’s fashionable to bash white people, especially white people with money. I’m truly sick of it. I am all for finding solutions to the problems that exist but stop with the finger pointing and get on with getting the hard work done.

    • Mike Sonn
      Mike Sonn July 30, 2020 at 9:28 am #

      Who stops that hard work from getting done? Exactly.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke July 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm #

      White people with money got that way thanks to generations of racist housing policies, among other things. The more we speak about that history, the more we can try to figure out what to do about it.

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