National Links: Why Do People Live in Cars?

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.

Learning about vehicular homelessness: More people are living in their cars as the housing crisis gets worse, but there are things we might not know or understand about vehicular homelessness. M. Nolan Gray writes about his experience living out of his car as a Ph.D. student and what might push people into this position. For some it’s an obvious choice that they never thought would last long, for others a stroke of bad luck that ends up as a permanent circumstance. (M. Nolan Gray | The Atlantic)

Is Buttigieg’s equity push slowing down?: At the start of his appointment as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg was adamant about equity considerations in transportation projects, discussing the past wrongs of highway expansion as the U.S. Department of Transportation intervened to slow down Houston’s I-45 expansion. But critics say he’s not pushed hard enough for change in how these expansion projects impact people. Meanwhile the bipartisan infrastructure bill fuels construction of new projects. (Minho Kim | Politico)

Repurposing suburban office complexes: As large companies decide to move on from suburban office parks, what happens to the empty space at a time when suburban offices are less in demand? Suburbs address the issue in different ways, hoping to replace lost revenue. Some provide space to Amazon and logistics warehouses while others redevelop into mixed-use housing and commercial spaces with a town center-like feel. (Robert Reed | Chicago Magazine)

Los Angeles’ pre-approved ADU plans: Working with local architects, the City of Los Angeles has developed pre-approved plans for accessory dwelling units that would cut down on permitting and approval times. The plans are designed for the worst-case scenario of ground conditions. While the city hopes this will mean less red tape and more production of less expensive housing, housing advocates worry that the homes still won’t be affordable to renters. Plus, sewer and utility charges are wild cards. (Anjulie Rao | Dwell Magazine)

Slow Death of AC Transit: AC Transit serves the California East Bay Cities of Oakland and Berkeley and should be keeping ridership on par with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a heavy-rail transportation system. But transit advocate Darrell Owens argues that a number of austerity decisions — including “temporary” secession of service —have led to big drops in AC Transit ridership. The best fix, he argues, is to change state funding restrictions and have the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (the MPO for the nine-county San Francisco bay area) stop subsidizing rail operations more than bus. (Darrell Owens | The Discourse Lounge)

Quote of the Week

“The amount that housing prices have gone up has varied tremendously, depending on whether the city or the community next door had a similar cap. Whenever the adoption of a growth cap inspired an adjacent city to adopt a similar measure — usually from fear of receiving the spillover from their neighbor — significant increases in housing costs followed.”

John Landis, professor emeritus of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, in The Guardian discussing cities using growth caps to restrict housing.

This week on the podcast we’re chatting with David Wasserman of Alta Planning and Mike Flaxman of Heavy.AI about generative artificial intelligence.

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