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.
Warehouses in the fields: Among cattle feed lots and farms in Ontario, California, an e-commerce facility headlined by Amazon has sprung up, changing the politics, job market, air quality and previous way of life. The city is now home to more than 600 warehouses and endless development, which pushed out what was once the highest yielding milk regions in the world. (Maanvi Singh | The Guardian)
Good luck playing Sim NIMBY: A lot of planners got into planning because of the blockbuster desktop computer game Sim City. One of the beauties of the game was its simplicity, though it did leave out parking and the vibrant mixed-use possibilities that make cities great. To show frustrations with today’s planning processes and opposition, two friends decided to make the opposite version, Sim NIMBY. Click on the Sim City-looking board and the only answer you get is no. (Aaron Gordon | Motherboard)
PIRG highway boondoggles 2022: Since 2014 USPIRG has released reports documenting 65 highway expansion projects that make no sense because they aren’t reaching even the goals they set for themselves. This year, the project has found seven new unnecessary projects costing taxpayers $22 billion. The list could get worse in the coming years if state Departments of Transportation and regional planning agencies use the infrastructure bill to continue to build wasteful highway projects. (James Horrox, Bryn Huxley-Reicher, Matt Casale | USPIRG)
Worst intersection in Kansas City? All of them: In August a user on a Kansas City subreddit asked what road intersection in the city was the most cursed. The short list included 40 intersections that are poor on safety and lack good infrastructure for pedestrians. Council member Eric Bunch believes it comes down to the embedded car culture where the mantra is “traffic should flow no matter what” and “pedestrians should never have the right of way.” (Celisa Calacal and Savannah Hawley | KCUR)
How cities can respond to flash floods: Around the world rainfall amounts in short bursts are increasing and cities are scrambling to deal with the threat of flash floods. Simple solutions such as bioswales and rain basins might not be enough when the storm sewers are overwhelmed. But natural solutions including trees and better warning systems for people may be safer than any engineering feat. (Jack Holmes | Esquire)
Quote of the Week
“Many homeowners whose houses were seized by eminent domain and destroyed by the government were also denied the ability to purchase new homes in whites-only suburbs. Displaced residents often had no choice but to move into shoddily maintained public housing, robbing them of their chance to pass down wealth in the form of real estate from parent to child, thereby cementing a cycle of generational poverty.”
Adam Paul Susaneck of Segregation by Design in the New York Times discussing highway projects that destroyed neighborhoods and generational wealth
This week on the podcast, Michael E. Smith, an anthropologist and archeologist, talks about his Aeon magazine article, “Energized Crowding,” which describes life in early cities and neighborhoods.
Photo at top courtesy of Carolien van Oijen on Unsplash