National Links: Pure Water and Transport Insecurity

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.

Looking deeper into transport insecurity: Researchers from the University of Michigan have developed a transportation insecurity checklist similar to one used for food insecurity. Transport insecurity, an inability to move freely because of a lack of resources, is not something a lot of policy makers pay attention to. While we have some data about how people commute to work, that data doesn’t show us whether people were fired because they lacked transportation access. (Amanda Merck | Salud America)

When wastewater is cleaned to be too pure: Around the American West, water is getting more scarce due to the drought. To get more water from less, San Diego’s pure water program is looking to get 40% of its water from local sources by 2035. This means one program in which wastewater is treated to a point where it’s so pure you can’t drink it until it’s pumped back up with minerals. (Matt Simon | Mother Jones)

Spatial racism beyond redlining: Spatial racism is more than a set of older redlining maps, it’s been embedded in institutions over a long period of time. As such, the history of discrimination must be understood in greater detail before new practices are further embedded in digital systems. As an example, block busting not redlining is tied to reduced food access today in Baltimore while subprime mortgage loans in Detroit are tied to reverse redlining practices of banks during the great recession. (Alex Hill | Metropolitics)

Where are our public bathrooms?: The pandemic reminds those living in the United States as well as those visiting from other countries that what many considered public bathrooms, those in department stores, bars, or restaurants, are not public and shouldn’t be counted as such. Elizabeth Yuko takes a look at the history of public restrooms in the United States and wonders what is keeping us from providing something so basic for all. (Elizabeth Yuko | Bloomberg CityLab)

Artificial intelligence and city design: New use cases for artificial intelligence are popping up in the urban design and planning world. As more programs are developed to reduce the time it takes to plan or design different scenarios, there is a question about whether they are biased or fair. While they might be beneficial in pure calculations of performance criteria, researchers believe they are likely to be lacking in areas where value judgements represent community agreement. (Stephen Cousins | Engineering and Technology)

Quote of the Week

“One thing I would want to make clear is that inclusionary zoning is not adequate. Inclusionary zoning is a policy designed exclusively for new construction. And it really is limited in terms of its applicability because the vast majority of housing is not new construction. There has to be a mechanism to encourage municipalities to address the citywide housing situation, not just new construction.”

Yonah Freemark in Shelterforce discussing his research on France’s Urban Solidarity and Renewal law that supports social housing.

This week on the podcast we’re joined by Kenneth O’Reilly to talk about his book Asphalt: A History

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