National Links: Sitting on the Porch

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 or absurd but often useful.

Can porch culture solve loneliness?: Last week the Surgeon General declared an epidemic of loneliness in the United States, saying that even before the pandemic 50% of adults reported experiencing loneliness. One way to feel connected is by reaching out to neighbors and being out on your porch, socializing. Porches used to be more mainstream, but air conditioning, televisions and the automobile kept people further away from each other and coaxed them to stay indoors. (Sophie Hills | Mother Jones)

10th anniversary of the CaEnviroScreen: California is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the CalEnviroScreen, a mapping system that pinpoints cumulative environmental impacts on communities and determines environmental justice funding. To this day the Golden State has invested $6 bllion in climate monies based on this mapping tool, which pulls together indicators such as air pollution, social vulnerability, asthma hospitalization, lead exposure and more. (California EPA)

Pandemic reduced interactions: New research from MIT looking at where people visit in cities has found that diverse urban interactions have been reduced from anywhere between 15% and 30% by the pandemic in four cities. This means that people are less likely now to visit areas of the city that are socioeconomically different from their own. Researchers looked at anonymized cell phone data over a three year period starting in 2019. (Peter Dizikes | MIT News)

Missing medical appointments: A report from the Urban Institute found that one in five people without access to transportation have foregone medical appointments because they could not get to the hospital or doctor’s office. Missed medical appointments cost healthcare providers $150B annually, and as such they’ve been increasing efforts to make sure people have access to care. (Shannon Muchmore | Smart Cities Dive)

Walt Disney never wanted EPCOT residents: A fight between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company has come to a head in recent months, with lawsuits flying back and forth over control of the land under Walt Disney World. The Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow (EPCOT) was supposed to be Walt’s vision for urban development, but new information suggests that it might have been a ploy to control the property while not having any residents. (Molly Olmstead | Slate)

Quote of the Week

“[NFL Draft week] was one of the slowest weeks we’ve had all year, which was definitely a shock. We doubled our advertisements on Instagram. We made sure we were fully stocked and staffed, and it was a huge disappointment.”

Business owner Chanel Jezek in Startland News discussing reduced business during the NFL draft in Kansas City last week.

This week on the podcast, Trevor Latimer joins us to talk about his book, Small Isn’t Beautiful: The Case Against Localism (Brookings).

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