A dense city street.

National Links: Rethinking City Sounds

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.

Rethinking city sounds: What if we rethought sound in busy cities? In Rotterdam, city officials believe that train bells and other noises are just background noise, but to many, it’s an unbearable hum. Still, some are looking for ways to extract and enhance new sounds to create new and valuable urban experiences. (Lauren Kelly | Noema Magazine)

Fixing and expanding the T: Giving more people in Boston access to transit is imperative for not just connectivity, but for the environment. As part of a series on future planning in the Boston region, David Scharfenberg dives into what kinds of transit expansions are feasible, and whether high-speed rail is on the horizon. (David Scharfenberg | Boston Globe)

Obama the YIMBY?: At the American Institute of Architects conference in Chicago, former President Barack Obama noted that urban sprawl isn’t good for the environment, and that a lot of liberal cities aren’t so liberal when it comes to affordable housing. (Ben Dreith | dezeen)

What ‘Ban Cars’ Really means: Advocate and host of The War on Cars podcast Doug Gordon writes about what the phrase ‘Ban Cars’ means to him. Ultimately it’s not about wiping cars off the face of the earth, but reckoning with the negative impacts of the automobile on society and expanding the rights of people who don’t drive. (Doug Gordon | Jalopnik)

Killing the smart city forever: To many in Toronto, Sidewalk Labs’ plans for a tech-first development lacked seriousness about addressing privacy concerns. So the city is now embarking on a new development project that focuses on sustainability and housing, but also leaves intact the idea of the city as a messy vital place that smart city monitoring seems to ignore. (Karrie Jacobs | MIT Technology Review)

Quote of the Week

“Procurement is not a neutral and esoteric administrative function, although it is typically treated as such…it is a key force in cities that can and should be directed toward the larger public good.”

Sascha Haselmayer in Smart Cities Dive discussing city procurement policy’s possibilities.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by writer Dan Moore to talk about his piece in The Ringer entitled “What Do Cities Lose When they Lose Pro Sports?”