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 INVEST Act pushes back on road building: The most recent House transportation bill pushes back on the roads first mentality that has run the United States for years. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio believes we can’t pave the whole country and need to focus on climate solutions. In order to pass it, though, backers will have to convince senators to not listen to the road building lobby and state DOTs. (Sam Mintz | Politico)
The urban landscape of Soviet monotowns: Company towns have been part of life in many countries going back to the industrial revolution, but in Eastern Bloc countries, the state controlled stability of these towns waned after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now a new book takes a look at these places and their architecture, often derelict after years of abandonment. (Andreea Cutieru | Arch Daily)
Electric cars have an environmental cost: The rush to produce electric cars that replace their oil propelled counterparts is raising eyebrows from environmentalists around the world. Metals such as lithium are important in battery technology, but also part of a race to extract resources from fragile ecosystems like deserts or the ocean floor. While electrification is seen as an important step towards climate solutions, it’s also fraught with the potential for irreparable harm. (Evan Halper | Los Angeles Times)
Airbnb trying to sell itself as a savior: The pandemic has impacted companies in different ways, but Airbnb was knocked down by the lack of travel and interaction. Now, as places start to open up again, they are trying to capitalize on the growth in travel. However, in selling themselves to cities as saviors, they look past the damage they’ve done displacing people in popular neighborhoods around the world. (Katya Schwenk | Business Insider)
A new metric for safer streets: New research from the University of Pennsylvania takes a look at using biometric data from pedestrian and cyclist cognitive workload evaluations to understand how these road users process information for safety. Areas of high workload are likely to create a higher crash threat. The benefit of using this measure is understanding dangerous intersections before they result in a collision and fatality. (Erica Brockmeier | Penn Today)
Quote of the Week
“During the focus group, participants unanimously expressed their love for the new outdoor dining scene. Fewer parking spots didn’t deter them—quite the opposite. The new patios and pop-up markets drew them from the suburbs to the city, and deeper into their own neighborhoods, often by foot.”
Rachel Slade in Boston Magazine discussing how the city could benefit from going car free.
This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Mark Perepelitza, Director of Sustainability at SERA Architects.