A new REM light rail train in Montreal.

National Links: Quick Forests and Urban Legacies

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 or absurd but often useful.

Montreal’s new LRT line a model? Montreal opened its latest transit expansion last week, the first section of the Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM), a 42-mile (67-km) light rail network owned and operated by a private company. The line has been lauded for its quick construction timeline and opening, and some hope it will be seen as a model for the rest of the country. But the process will be hard to replicate elsewhere in Canada — among other advantages, the REM used an existing commuter rail right-of-way and the province passed special laws to limit landowner expropriation contests. (Thomas MacDonald | Toronto Star)

Borrowing cooling design from the Middle East: In the United States, about 88% of households use air conditioning to stay cool. But in some historically hot areas of the world, traditional methods are being incorporated into new building designs to provide cooling that reduces the need for air conditioning. Wind towers called barajeels can cool buildings up to 50 degrees depending on the prevailing winds while allowing natural light. And domed ceilings can help disperse heat within the structure. We could learn from these designs and build more passive cooling into our buildings. (Anna Gordon | Time)

Dallas will soon finish its bike loop: After $90 million and 10 years of planning and construction, Dallas is getting closer to completing The Loop, a 50-mile hike and bike trail around the city. The program was spearheaded and pushed forward by business leaders in Dallas who saw a need to connect the city’s existing patchwork of trails to each other. They’ve kept a low profile but hope that in the next 10 years the trail system will be a symbol of the city. (Christine Perez | D Magazine)

The Miyawaki method for reforestation: A method of quick reforestation developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki has the potential to speed up city greening around the world. The method includes planting native trees and plants in close proximity to each other so they grow faster in competition for resources in their early lives. The Miyawaki method supports greater biodiversity and carbon capture than single-species plantings and fosters a faster regeneration process. (Chermaine Lee | FairPlanet)

Dan Doctoroff reckons with his legacy: From 2002 to 2008, Dan Doctoroff, deputy mayor of New York during the Bloomberg Administration, had a hard-charging attitude to get things done that he believed would improve the city. His ambition and aggressiveness led to many successes in New York, but also failures, including a waterfront-development project in Toronto while he was CEO of Sidewalk Labs. But after an ALS diagnosis in 2021, he’s had to rethink some of the ways he approached urban change and people. (Justin Davidson | Curbed)

Quote of the Week

“It was mostly populated by Black people. I-70 came through in 1967 and bisected the neighborhood. And what we’re doing is looking at the impact of these urban highways on these communities, how they divided and damaged them.”

— Ohio State University geography professor Harvey Miller, discussing how his team is using old fire insurance maps and machine learning to create 3D renderings of disappeared neighborhoods. (Bill Rinehart | WXVU)

This week on the podcast, Paula DiPerna joins the show to talk about her book “Pricing the Priceless: The Financial Transformation to Value the Planet, Solve the Climate Crisis, and Protect Our Most Precious Assets.”

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