National Links: Electric Buses and Personal Space

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.

Arizona’s sprawl limited by water: The state of Arizona is restricting new developments from using groundwater as their principal water source, likely halting new developments on the edges of large cities like Phoenix. The move is based on long term projections that show a shortage of water over the next 100 years. 80,000 homes already with water certificates will be allowed to move forward but future development must find new sources of water. (Jacques Billeaud and Suman Naishdham | Associated Press)

Telework and housing demand: Researchers surveyed teleworkers in Scotland about their housing preferences to see if predictions of a suburban shift in demand and a preference for more in-home work space were valid. Existing teleworkers are content with their current homes, but new teleworkers (20% of respondents) intend to find a different home with more space for work. (Rainer Schulz, Verity Watson, and Martin Wersing | Journal of Regional Science and Urban Economics)

We’re all bad neighbors now: As definitions of personal space evolve, so do people’s reactions to anything interrupting it. Recent upticks in noise complaints and road rage exemplify people’s strong negative reactions to anything that invades what they perceive as their personal space. Unfortunately, the idea that personal space must be protected at all costs has led to violence as people extend their personal space to driveways and subway cars. (Eleanor Cummins | The New Republic)

Bio-metrics indicate urban design preferences: New bio-metric and machine learning tools are allowing researchers to look into people’s minds with fascinating results. Researchers at Tufts found people do not like looking at cars in their urban environments and appear happier when looking at urban environments without them. These results suggests that cities without cars and more natural design elements might elicit more positive physiological responses. (Justin Hollander et al. | Scientific American)

Tough road to bus electrification: Many transit agencies are finding it difficult to transition their fleets to zero emissions vehicles due to logistics and infrastructure issues. To fully convert fleets, discussions need to be had about new bus facilities, which routes work best for testing new technology, and even the amount of power electric companies can provide. While there is a focus on reducing emissions, transit agencies are currently being cautious about making big investments in electric buses. (Jared Brey | Governing)

Quote of the Week

“What we are aiming to do is making sure that in every county in California where there is a survivor of violence that needs violence prevention services – those county health plans are working with the local violence intervention programs so that they’re being reimbursed in a fair, equitable and strong way that minimizes the bureaucracy.”

Physician Kyle Fischer, policy director for the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI) in The Guardian discussing treating gun violence as a public health issue.

This week on the podcast we’re joined by Tufts professor Justin Hollander to talk about his new book The First City on Mars: An Urban Planner’s Guide to Settling the Red Planet.

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