Queensboro Bridge connecting Manhattan and Queens in New York.

National Links: 300 Languages, One Street

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.

Electric cargo bikes a popular family option: During the pandemic, biking increased in cities like New York where people were worried early on about getting on the subway with their kids. Many found an option in electric cargo bikes which could carry multiple kids to school in the morning and home in the afternoon. At bike stores in Brooklyn, cargo bike sales make up to 40% of sales a noticeable increase from zero just 7 years ago. (Kendra Hurley | New York Times)

Smart home company disappears completely: A smart home company connecting devices like lightbulbs and switches through apps shut down abruptly leaving its users in a lurch. The company’s servers were shut down and anyone who now would do a factory reset on the system will now brick any smart feature in their home. The company’s executives even scrubbed their LinkedIn pages, likely fearing a massive backlash. The move opens up a conversation about the sustainability long term of connected devices. (Ron Amadeo | Ars Technica)

More thinking about indoor air quality: During the pandemic, more and more people started to pay attention to indoor air quality as it became known that the virus was spread through the air and people spent more time at home. And after wildfire season becoming more and more impactful and a pandemic, more and more people are thinking about the air we breathe indoors and how it impacts our health. (Andrew Zaleski | GQ)

More than 300 languages spoken on this New York street: Along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, more than 300 languages are spoken. As the 7 train runs over the “artery of life”, commerce explodes underneath with vibrancy and community. The street is a microcosm of the world and what goes on there sometimes impacts what happens on the other side of the globe. (Jordan Salama | National Geographic)

How governments can use the metaverse: A new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) discusses why governments should think harder about how they can interact with the “metaverse”. The metaverse, a network of online three-dimensional worlds, has been gathering more attention as Facebook renamed its parent company to Meta and virtual reality headsets become commonplace. The report discusses opportunities for government such as virtual in-person consultation and shaping the narrative of what it can be used for going forward. (Andy Castillo | American City and County)

Quote of the Week

“The women don’t want to leave. They love that area because it’s very compact and busy, and that means you’re safe even if you leave your shift at 4:00 or 5:00 AM. There’s always people around, we all know each other, there’s a lot of police cameras. It’s very safe.”

Mary, an anonymous escort in Surface Magazine discussing why sex workers in Amsterdam’s Red Light District don’t want it moved to the suburbs.

This week on the podcast, Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at Brookings Metro joins us to talk about her book Fixer Upper.