Every day, The Overhead Wire collects news about cities and sends the links to our email list. At the end of the week they 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.
The importance of time in planning: This is Time Use Week in Barcelona, an effort to inspire residents and cities to better use their time. The city will release reports called The Dossiers of Time to promote best practices, including the idea that car-free streets can save parents time by allowing children to walk to school without supervision. The City of Barcelona has always been a leader on time, creating agreements and regulations that put time at the forefront of policy. (Marta Buces | Eurocities)
Mapping America’s activity centers in metro areas: A new report from the Brookings Institute pinpoints activity centers in 110 metropolitan areas by mapping the locations of five categories of assets: community, tourism, consumption, institutional and economic. Researchers found that 40 percent of private sector jobs are located in activity centers, which take up just 3 percent of land — and denser concentrations of jobs mean greater metro productivity. (Tracey Hadden Loh, DW Rowlands, Adie Tomer, Joseph W Kane, Jennifer S Vey | Brookings)
Big climate impacts of protected bike lanes: New research shows the climate benefits of protected bike lanes in low- and middle-income cities. In Bogota, Colombia, new protected bike lanes reduced emissions annually by 22,000 tons, while in Guongzhou, China it was 16,000 tons. Considering the low cost of bike lanes, the report cites the huge environmental benefit to their adoption. ITDP also created a calculator tool for other cities looking to see potential benefits of protected lanes. (ITDP)
Railroad workers want publicly owned infrastructure: One of the railroad workers’ caucuses made up of union members has written a resolution that the U.S. railroad infrastructure should be publicly owned. Given that companies now own the tracks, the workers reason, there’s no incentive for expansion — and value created goes mostly back to shareholders instead of creating a better transportation network. (Joanna Marsh | Freight Waves)
A more nimble way to counter climate change: Forty-six percent of Americans say they have felt the effects of climate change, with Black and brown neighborhoods hit the hardest. And while top-down investments and policies are helpful, bottom-up local solutions are also needed to counter climate denial and help those in need. Organizations like Groundwork help create local efforts, including planting micro-forests and building rain gardens to help communities become more resilient. (Emma Marris | The Atlantic)
Quote of the Week
“The biggest benefit to citizens has been the reduction in air and noise pollution. For a city with a population of more than 20 million, the roads are remarkably quiet. The same benefits apply to SZBG staff, too…. With diesel vehicles, the working environment is dirtier because of the nature of the fuel. Since transitioning to electric, we’ve been able to transform a lot of taxi depots into multi-story, multi-functional spaces, incorporating canteens, restaurants, cafes, gyms, health centers and even office space that can be leased out. It has introduced an entirely new business model for the city to take advantage of.”
Hallie Liao, deputy general manager of Shenzhen Bus Group in Smart Cities World explaining the benefits of electrifying their whole transit and taxi fleet
This week on the podcast, Max Holleran talks about his book, Yes to the City: Millennials and the Fight for Affordable Housing, about the rise of YIMBY vs. NIMBY housing politics, the changes in housing activism and how housing fights are going global.