Street view of an alleyway in Tokyo, Japan.

National Links: Energized Cities

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.

Oslo’s climate movement: Oslo has undertaken a climate budgeting process that city leaders hope will bring emissions down to 95% of 2009 levels by 2030. It’s one of the most ambitious targets around the world and because the city is smaller and nimble than a national government, it’s likely to achieve it without the politics and rancor that usually accompany these discussions in other places. (Nick Romeo | The New Yorker)

Measuring healthy sustainable cities: In 2016 The Lancet, the oldest and best-known medical journal in the world, proposed a set of indicators to create healthy and sustainable communities. This year they’ve released a 3.5-year case study looking at 25 cities in 19 countries assessing urban form and transportation impacts on physical activity using those previous benchmarks. (Global Observatory of Healthy and Sustainable Cities)

Architecture of the Elizabeth Line: The Elizabeth Line, London’s newest subway corridor in two decades, will be opening up this month after several years of delays and increased costs. But since 1999 when the Jubilee extension opened, there’s been a lot of introspection about design considerations that take the whole line into account. From using similar materials across stations to crowd considerations, the new line’s design considerations will set the standard for future projects. (Nat Barker | Dezeen)

A changing Seattle downtown: Jon Talton writes in the Seattle Times about all the change he’s seen since he moved to Seattle in 2007. In the last 10 years alone, the city has added 128,000 new people in just 84 square miles. And in many of the neighborhoods that have grown, transportation has changed as well, with light rail expanding across the city and set to spread further across the region. It’s amazing what can happen when a city invests in creating space for people to live and move. (Jon Talton | Seattle Times)

The ethics of next day delivery: Are next day deliveries worth the strain on workers, street networks, and the environment? It’s a question more people should ask as online merchants have tried to quench the demands of customers who seek to procure items quickly at all times of the week. As people order more and more items, it gets harder to consolidate deliveries creating more trips and more impacts. (Luke Winkie | The Guardian)

Quote of the Week

“Settlements with higher populations and higher densities have greater energised crowding, and this in turn changes urban life in three primary ways. First, energised crowding leads to neighbourhood formation. With too many people in a city, people create communities on a smaller scale – neighbourhoods – and energised crowding then continues to operate within those smaller units. Second, energised crowding leads to economic growth and development. This growth in per-capita outputs creates the superlinear scaling patterns described above… Finally, energised crowding also brings negative effects: stress and anxiety on the individual level, and crime and poverty on the city level.”

Michael E Smith, professor of anthropology at Arizona State University, in Aeon Magazine, discussing how early cities thrived.

This week on the podcast, Minneapolis pastor Travis Norvell discusses his book “Church on the Move”.

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