National Links: Community Feedback Needs Reform

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 that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Community feedback needs reform: America is having an urban productivity crisis and at the heart of it is the community process. Too often community meetings and feedback sessions are set up to fail and pit one group against another instead of finding common goals and getting needed projects done in a reasonable amount of time. Many would like to get rid of this process for the smallest projects while creating a more robust system for citywide plans that set goals for larger systems planning. (Aaron Gordon | Motherboard)

Secretary Buttigieg on active transportation: In an interview with Adele Peters at Fast Company, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg discusses trips to Copenhagen and where we are at with bike infrastructure in the United States. He also discusses the challenges of safety in transportation planning and what the role of cars are in future cities, including electric ones. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)

The end of the urban drug store?: Drug stores have been fixtures of urban life for a long time, and after a massive boom at the turn of the century their numbers are dwindling in part because of oversaturation of the market. Contrary to the narratives and increasing amounts of lockbox plexiglass, shoplifting is not the main reason. Ultimately it’s the fundamentals; changing populations, changing consumer patterns, and a growing online marketplace. (Henry Grabar | Slate)

European cities getting more crowded: In Europe, many cities are seeing growth in urban areas as opposed to the suburbs. Many urban places that were in population decline and seeing “de-densification” at the end of the last century are now moving in a new direction, buoyed by immigration and center city job growth. There’s a hope that this trend continues so as to not expand urban boundaries and support climate change goals. (Matt Reynolds | Wired Magazine)

The Great Salt Lake’s ecological collapse has begun: The Great Salt Lake in Utah continues to shrink and that has led to a change in food systems that impacts the ecosystem as a whole. Brine flies which used to swarm the shores and feed migratory birds by the billions are now disappearing. As the water gets saltier, the flies and the brine shrimp which make up the key food supply also have a harder time regulating saline levels which leads to less reproduction. (Leia Larson | Salt Lake Tribune)

Quote of the Week

“But what organizations like Queremos Sol are calling for is something different: a society founded not on scarcity and hierarchy, but, instead, on abundance and equality. They don’t just want the sun; they want what energy-justice workers would describe as an “energy commons.” They want not only solar power, but a solar politics oriented toward solidarity.”

Stacey Balkan in Public Books discussing the ideas collectively known as Solar Punk.

This week on the podcast, Tien-Tien Chan of Nelson Nygaard and Jessica Roberts of Alta Planning and Design talk about Transportation Demand Management.

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