National Links: Urban River Swimming, Missing Large Housing

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.

Home prices are starting to alarm policymakers: Experts say the current rise in home prices is unsustainable and are drawing comparisons to the housing bubble that led to the 2008 housing market crash and global economic recession. However, loans are stronger, regulations are tighter, and there is less of an overflow of housing stock than in those days. A price wall, rental crisis, and market stall do loom. (Katy O’Donnell | Politico)

She’s here to change the 60 year old parking ordinance: How did an urban planner from Bucharest with a PhD from the University of Turin in Italy end up in Dallas? Why, to reform long unchanged parking codes of course. With half her career spent in walkable, dense Europe, Andreea Udrea ended up in Dallas with the goal of fixing the parking ordinance and enhancing a collective vision for urban life. (Peter Simek | D Magazine)

Missing large housing: Bay Area architect and artist Alfred Twu believes that main streets and commercial corridors are lacking the pedestrians and activity needed to thrive, in part because housing units have become less crowded than they were 100 years ago. To boost those businesses without crowding, Alfred argues we need more density in the form of larger buildings. In addition to “missing middle housing”, we need “missing large housing”. (Alfred Twu | Medium)

The urban river swimming renaissance: Cities around the world are cleaning up thier rivers and opening them to swimmers. To make rivers safe, cities need to make sure the water doesn’t pose any health risks and the swimming areas are clear of debris. From pop up swimming pools in Brussels to designs for a giant river strainer pool in Manhattan, these urban blue spaces and the plans for more are overwhelmingly popular. (Tasha Day | Pop Up City)

Transit agencies jump into real estate: Since the pandemic and the ensuing ridership decline, transit agencies in the U.S. have started looking more to transit-agency owned land as a revenue source. In the long run, the agencies are planning transit oriented development in order to remain financially stable while investing in the communities that they rely on for their existence. (Nate Berg | Fast Company)

Alissa Guther contributed to these summaries.

Quote of the Week

“There are winners and losers when you change these designations. A typical complaint comes from economic development when you are trying to attract investments. You want to say you are part of a dynamic MSA. There’s a perception associated with it. If your area gets dumped out of an MSA, then you feel disadvantaged.”

Nancy Potok, a former chief statistician of the Office of Management and Budget in the Associated Press discussing the ramifications of downgrading 144 cities in the United States from Metropolitan Areas to Micropolitan Areas.

This week on the podcast, Tim Fendley of Applied discusses making cities legible with wayfinding.

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