National Links: Are We Ready to Go Back to Work?

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.

The alluring prophecy of the death of cities: For millenia, cities have been a target of disdain, but they have never failed to be the center of commerce and culture. Emily Badger explores why some hoped the pandemic would be the final blow for American cities, and also how they are viewed differently around the world than here in the states. (Emily Badger | New York Times)

Lumber prices falling fast: After a year of inflated prices due to the pandemic, lumber prices have fallen 40% in June alone. The reasons are many but include reduced speculative trading and a return to normal supply chains. Prices are still way above pre-pandemic averages of $350 to $500 per board foot and are now averaging $770 per board foot. (Niall Patrick Walsh | Archinect)

Disingenuous talk of returning to the office: The next three months could determine the next 10 years for office work and culture. As more companies allow employees to come back or work from home, we have to make a choice as to whether we let work take over the rest of our personal lives. And with such a great reduction in childcare, it might be disingenuous to say we can come back so fast. (Henry Grabar | Slate)

25 cities account for majority of emissions: After sampling 167 cities in 53 countries around the world, researchers found that just 25 cities created over 52% of emissions from the sample cities. All but three of the 25 cities were in China. The analysis also found that cities in richer countries had higher per capita emissions and in many cities, transportation accounted for up to 30%. (Zack Budryk | The Hill)

Why does utopian architecture suck?: There’s a broad trend in utopian architecture to design places that say they are sustainable and resilient but are really neither, and in reality are just exercises in disguised exploitative capitalism. Who are they really for and what are they really trying to accomplish? We already have the tools to create sustainable places but really we need the political will to make them happen. (Kate Wagner | The Nation)

Quote of the Week

“The damage and destruction is where the terror lies. We fear it is eating into our foundation.”

Chicago resident Jera Slaughter discussing the impact of changes in Lake Michigan levels on her 100 year old building in an interactive New York Times piece.

This week on the podcast, Alex Hoffman, assistant director for CID Planning at the City of El Paso, joins the show.

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