A large, multistory shopping mall

National Links: The American Nightmare Mall

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.

Disney’s new subdivision business: Disney is planning on building residential communities themed as Disney properties. The wing of the company that controls theme parks and the cruise line will be in charge of these new developments near Palm Springs. Instead of, say, Star Wars themed communities, spokespeople say it will be weaving a story about the community throughout its experiences related to food and community. Unfortunately, even with mouse magic, it’s still sprawl. (Arthur Levine | USA Today)

Amazon’s urban expansion ruffling feathers: In San Francisco Amazon has purchased properties zoned industrial in order to build last-mile fulfillment centers for deliveries in the city. One property in particular that used to house garbage trucks has found local opposition from the California College of the Arts and trade unions. Now a city supervisor has proposed an 18-month moratorium on last-mile delivery centers across the city in order to extract concessions from the company. (J.K. Dineen | San Francisco Chronicle)

Utah legislators could transfer transit construction: Legislators in Utah are looking to bring major fixed guideway transit projects in the state under the purview of the Utah Department of Transportation. While many transit advocates are worried about what that means, city officials see it as a way to make transit investments more front and center in state transportation policy. (Benjamin Wood | Salt Lake City Weekly)

What’s the matter with American cities?: American visitors to European cities are often frustrated by the difference in urbanism and mobility. But how did American cities get there? American urban residents contribute six times more emissions than their counterparts and ultimately the automobile is a deciding factor as well as European attitudes that differed on city-building and architecture. If we’re going to save human civilization, urban form needs to play a part in that change. (Walter Jaegerhaus | ArchDaily)

The American Nightmare Mall: Dan Barrecchia remembers as a kid being excited about the big mall coming to the Meadowlands in New Jersey, but during the pandemic, he went to visit with morbid curiosity the place that had taken 16 years to build and billions in private and public monies. What he found was a half-empty space with listless patrons reminding him of how we spend billions in public monies on consumerism and tax breaks for the rich instead of helping those that need it most. (Dan Barrecchia | Current Affairs)

Quote of the Week

“We die by accident because of risk exposure. The layers of risk compound, increasing the likelihood that mistakes aren’t survivable. As our regulatory systems have declined since the Reagan administration, we’ve lost a lot of ability to police how corporations expose us to unsafe conditions. At the same time, economic inequality drives accidental death in a variety of ways.”

Jessie Singer discussing in Bloomberg CityLab her book “There Are No Accidents”.

This week on the podcast, Sahar Massachi of the Integrity Institute discusses his piece in MIT Technology Review connecting cities and social media platforms and how we should be monitoring and managing them properly.