Excavators at the site of a demolished building.

National Links: No More Demolition

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.

Something other than demolition: For half a century cities like St. Louis felt that demolition was the best way to solve urban ills tied to out-migration and decay. But according to Tony Nipert, this can result in another type of displacement through neglect. And solutions that include rehabilitation only result in more demolition 10 years later if actions aren’t taken to get people into those homes. Other solutions are needed to revitalize neighborhoods in cities. (Tony Nipert | NextStL)

The Pedestrians Revolt: Responding to the climate crisis and increases in traffic violence, two shadowy groups have emerged in England and Los Angeles to take matters into their own hands. In Los Angeles, a group upset by traffic violence and inactivity on the part of local agencies creates crosswalks and safety fixes without permission. In England, activists have targeted SUVs by deflating tires in 13 cities using lentils, believing the vehicles shouldn’t exist in a warming world. (Dan Kois | Slate)

Let’s end traffic stops with speed limiters: In July, the European Union will require all new vehicles have GPS-based speed limiters that will follow local speed limits. Writer Angie Schmitt wonders if that future is possible in the United States, whose population might be culturally opposed to such an intervention, even if it means saving lives. While it takes 11 years for a vehicle fleet to turn over, the time to start changes is now. (Angie Schmitt | Planetizen)

The coming Salt Lake environmental disaster: The Great Salt Lake is in deep trouble. Farming and residential watering inhibit water flows to the lake, increasing salinity and killing off the ecosystem that includes brine shrimp. And when the lake dries out, the heavy metals at the bottom will be blown up into the air and into the cities of the Wasatch Front creating a public health catastrophe. (Christopher Flavelle | New York Times)

From data to plaza: Using risk terrain modeling in Dallas, the Child Poverty Action Lab and Better Block set up a plaza in a location that has a high risk for gun violence. The plaza will now host basketball tournaments, be a place where neighborhood kids can come for summer camp activities, and have a back-to-school festival at the end of summer. (Matt Goodman | D Magazine)

Quote of the Week

“Portland residents own the city’s right of way and are entitled to compensation from businesses that use the right of way to generate profits. If the city allows anyone to use the right of way without compensation, Portland residents would effectively subsidize profits made by companies.”

Jillian Schoene, who oversees the Portland Office for Community Technology in Willamette Week discussing how the city wants to change utility fees for use of the public right of way.

This week on the podcast, St. Paul developer Johnny Opara, of JO Companies, and Lea Hargett, principal of Jog Associates, talk about programs that support developers of color, why Opara got into development, and the barriers people of color face in the market.