National Links: Urbanization and Climate Change

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.

Americans struggle as gas prices rise: Americans drive over 14,000 miles per year on average, more than residents of any other country, and double those in the United Kingdom. As auto dependence increased after the World War II, when we built so many sprawling subdivisions and skimped on transit funding, we also became greatly impacted by swings in gas prices. This leads to stress on low-income families and businesses when gas prices go up. (Adam Gabbatt | The Guardian)

A Green New Deal for transportation: The climate+community project has released its “Green New Deal for Transportation” to invest in a more just and sustainable transportation system. One of the policies is clean mobility for clunkers which would allow people to trade in a gas-powered vehicle for sustainable transportation including electric cars, bikes and transit passes. (Yonah Freemark, Billy Fleming, Caitlin McCoy, Rennie Meyers, Thea Riofrancos, Xan Lillehei, Daniel Aldana Cohen | climate + community project)

Could mass urbanization be good for the climate?: New research out of China shows that the mass urbanization of the country led by rural migration could be beneficial on the road to zero emissions. The move from villages has increased carbon capture as ecosystems that were left behind have been revitalized. Between 1995 and 2020 China’s rural population has decreased by approximately 350 million people, just over the population of the United States. (Sarah DeWeerdt | Anthropocene)

Fire insurance will have to change with climate: The old ways of fire insurance are not working out positively for insurance companies on the wild land-urban interface. A couple of fires in California over the last couple of years wiped out 26 years of profits for one company and threatens to leave many without insurance. New approaches such as community insurance are coming forward but ultimately there’s still a big risk in building closer to nature. (Emma Marris | The Atlantic)

How cities shaped the disco movement: Cities are places where people gather for work and for social aspects, but along with that agglomeration comes culture and musical influence. Camille Squires discusses the cultural influences and urban life that led to the Disco movement in its 70s heyday. (Camille Squires | Quartz)

Quote of the Week

“At the local level, we need cities and towns to join the rest of us who see building more housing at all price points as mission critical. The 270,000 new homes and apartments [the Arizona Department of Housing] says the state needs won’t happen by magic.”

Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Multihousing Association in Pew Stateline on states reforming zoning codes to build more housing.

This week on the podcast, Yonah Freemark joins the show for our annual predictions on transit.

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