Aerial view of a suburban McMansion development.

National Links: McMansions and National Randomization

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.

The next evolution of the McMansion: The Great Recession imprinted the McMansion on the collective unconscious of Americans. Kate Wagner started her blog McMansion Hell to ridicule these huge homes with mixed architectural styles, but she worries her focus on pre-recession architecture gives the impression that she’s giving the more recent iteration of the aesthetic a pass. She also wonders if it will ever end. (Kate Wagner | The Baffler)

Let’s randomize America: Dalton Conley suggests we should think about how we can randomly reshuffle America to make everything far more equitable. The idea is that we’ve sorted ourselves into neighborhoods by politics and income, but we should rethink basing our social contract — including funding for public goods — on place. One improvement could be a randomized system of tax pods that allow us to pay into a system that distributes value across the country. (Dalton Conley | The New Yorker)

Lessons from Barcelona’s radical governance: After the Great Recession, housing and other advocates began organizing a new way to govern outside of political parties; they were wildly popular, as people wanted change. Eight years later, after a lot of positive reforms, this group are the incumbents and have to figure out how to continue progressive reforms and long-lasting change while other forces chip away at their support. (Mark Engler and Paul Engler | Waging Nonviolence)

Congestion pricing moves forward in NYC: The Federal Highway Administration has signaled that it will allow New York to move forward with a congestion pricing scheme by approving an environmental review of the project. A draft “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) will be up for public review for a month. Implementation is not likely to happen for another year, as the Metropolitan Transit Authority will need to set up tolling infrastructure. (Danielle Muoio Dunn | Politico)

El Paso climate charter vote fails: Environmental activists in El Paso, Texas gathered enough signatures to get a proposition on the ballot that would enshrine climate change policies into the city charter. Among other changes, the city would be required to look into bringing the electric utility back under the city’s purview and track air pollution. Once on the ballot, however, the measure received opposition from organizations such as the El Paso Chamber and a Houston-based oil and gas front group. The measure failed, with 82% voting no. (Diego Mendoza-Moyers | El Paso Matters)

Quote of the Week

“Among the most exciting parts of the IRA is the invitation it presents for organizers to create proof of concept for public power as an alternative to for-profit energy. While for decades only private companies with massive tax liability were able to use renewable energy tax credits, public power providers, local and tribal governments, and others can now take advantage of an uncapped pool of IRA-provided funds to construct their own not-for-profit clean energy installations.”

Kate Aronoff in Dissent, discussing how the Inflation Reduction Act could lead to more publicly-owned power companies.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Mike Salisbury of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability & Resiliency to talk about the city’s e-bike rebate program.

Featured photo by Dan DeLuca, CC BY 2.0.

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