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.
Drivers slow down with cameras: New York City rolled out speed-camera enforcement 24 hours a day last year and has seen some positive results. Speeding violations are down 30%, and 80% of people caught for their first speeding ticket haven’t been ticketed again. On some streets, speeding has been reduced 96%. (David Meyer | Streetsblog NYC)
Land for a new city: A who’s who of Silicon Valley rich kids has purchased almost $1 billion worth of land near Travis Air Force Base between Sacramento and the Bay Area in order to build a new city. For four years a group called Flannery Associates has been buying up farmland at above-market-rate prices. But incorporating into a city would require a vote in Sonoma County, and the group has already upset local politicians and residents. (Karen Breslau, Tom Giles | Forbes via Bloomberg)
Australian town where people live underground: Coober Pedy, an Australian opal mining town 500-plus miles from the coast, is known for its sandstone and siltstone rock. The soft rock is easily excavated, and the resulting caves are used for housing and entertainment to avoid the region’s hot summer days, which can regularly reach above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Digging underground to avoid the heat is not new, but it also might be a glimpse into the future of a warming world. (Zaria Gorvett | BBC Future)
Don’t call it public housing: Montgomery County, the most populous county in Maryland, has been quietly building public housing by owning a large stake in private development, then using the “profits” as a way to lower rents for lower- and moderate-income residents. It’s the first building built with $100 million the county raised for such projects and is an effort to address the multiple housing issues that face the region and the country as a whole without calling it public housing. (Conor Dougherty | New York Times)
Rise of the eco-village: Around the world more and more people are wanting to live sustainably, and to do so they are joining eco-villages. Ten thousand of these eco-villages exist globally, and their numbers are increasing every year. They are also increasingly tied to a type of spirituality that connects people back to nature and other people but often get mistaken for cults. As the impacts of climate change increase, more people might try to find their eco-village. (Mélissa Godin | Noema Magazine)
Quote of the Week
“We’ve known that the major cities in the United States, cities with more than 1 million people, have high levels of [nitrogen dioxide]. It’s a product of combustion. …That’s a concern. [Nitrogen dioxide] gets turned into ozone. It also can play a role in making fine particulate matter.”
— NASA program scientist Barry Lefer in Houston Public Media discussing the preliminary findings from their new air-pollution monitoring satellite
This week on the podcast we’re joined by Yvonne Yeung to talk about the Urban Land Institute’s recent report, Building 15-Minute Communities: a Leadership Guide.