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 best new bike lanes in the United states: More and more bike lanes and low stress bike networks were built around the country, but PeopleForBikes wanted to pick the best executed projects from 2022 that are worth copying. They found wonderfully designed protected lanes from Jersey City to Spartanburg South Carolina. They saved the top spot for car free streets that were implemented in cities around the country. (Martina Haggerty | People for Bikes)
Hedge funds aren’t the big housing scapegoat: People are looking for someone to blame as housing prices and housing costs around the country have skyrocketed in recent years. There are plenty of conspiracy theories and leads as to what the issue might be, but Jerusalem Demsas writes that institutional investors like hedge funds are not the scapegoats many made them out to be, buying up just 3% of homes on the market. Even if hedge funds and AirBnB are generally bad actors, the problem she believes, is persistent under supply. (Jerusalem Demsas | The Atlantic)
Pittsburgh rethinks budget process for climate: Pittsburgh has redesigned its entire city budget to fund climate priorities that previously had little money available. By rethinking the whole budget through a priority based process, the city was able to make sure its spending was supporting stated goals. The program however isn’t meant to kill departments that aren’t focused on climate, but to realize how changes can be made over time to bring them more in line with city goals. (Claire Elise Thompson | Grist)
Changing thinking on gender mobility: A change is needed in how gender mobility is discussed by rethinking the language of “vulnerable users.” By putting women automatically into a vulnerable user category even though they make up half the population, there’s a risk of making male transport habits the norm while keeping women on the fringe. Women also need to be in leadership positions such that their voices are part of the conversation on transport decisions. (Isobel Duxfield | Eltis)
What should rent control accomplish?: As housing gets more expensive for renters, governments are looking for ways to protect tenants through regulations like rent control. But how rent control should be used and implemented is a bone of contention between government officials and activists. In Boston, activists are upset about a 10% rent control proposal from the mayor’s office, saying it doesn’t go far enough to keep people from being displaced. (Jared Brey | Governing)
Quote of the Week
“The privilege of vetoing virtually any housing in rich neighborhoods is so ingrained in American culture that many people believe it is one of their inalienable rights. However, new state laws and the willingness of housing activists to pursue legal remedies have changed the game.”
Jeremy Levine, Sonja Trauss, Jordan Grimes in the San Francisco Chronicle discussing the ways communities in California reject housing, and the reckoning that might come soon.
This week on the podcast, Michiel Huijsman, the managing director of Soundtrackcity in the Netherlands, joins to talk about how to think about the positive aspect of urban soundscapes.