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 science of recent bookstore design: For independent bookstores, a certain design allows for discovery and is inviting to readers. This is something the larger book chains often miss. If you know what you want, you can find it online easily, but if you aren’t sure, there’s nothing like a well designed independent bookstore with creative shelving, good lighting, comfortable seating and staff recommendations. (Lyndsie Manusos | Book Riot)
Denver’s rail lines don’t go to neighborhoods: In 2004 the Denver region voted to build a network of rail lines to connect the region. Many residents were excited about the project, but almost two decades later, those who supported the expansion are not using the system. If done today, it probably would not be set up with lines on freight right-of-ways serving suburban-to-city commutes. (Nathaniel Minor | Denverite)
A gas-tax trade conflict: Washington state officials have proposed a tax on refined gasoline sent to other states in order to fund state infrastructure; that bill is getting pushback. States that would be affected, including Oregon and Alaska, are already drawing up ways to retaliate with other taxes on goods such as fresh fish and could start a northwestern state trade dispute. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee argues that because the state bears the climate impacts of the gas refining, other places should share the social cost. (Daniel C. Vock | Route Fifty)
The psychology of place and community health: Dr. Mindy Fullilove discusses how neighborhoods and external forces impact the health of communities. She learned early in her residency at medical school that looking at things from a singular biomedical model focuses only on what happens in the body, but a biopsychosocial model considers the body and everything that happens outside, including geographic and sociological considerations. (Dr. Mindy Fullilove | Nonprofit Quarterly)
Paris plans to limit cars for 2024: The City of Paris, France will ban non-essential traffic through the city center over the next two years in time for the 2024 Olympics. The low-traffic area will cover 5.4 square miles and allow only residents, transit vehicles and people with disabilities. If cameras or police checkpoints catch other drivers, they will be fined. (Feargus O’Sullivan | Bloomberg CityLab) (Florent Helaine | Le Parisien)
Quote of the Week
“The narrative is that highways that were built ruined cities. But no, it’s that highways that were planned ruined cities. There is no highway, but there certainly is a scar.”
Emily Lieb, a Seattle-based historian in the Los Angeles Times discussing the legacy of the scars left by planned highways
This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Asal Bidarmaghz, a lecturer in geotechnical engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who discusses underground infrastructure and its importance for the future of cities, including underground climate change, coordination among long-term projects, and appropriate land use.