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.
Crossings explores road ecologies: Each day in the United States, vehicles kill 1 million vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles) on roads, and the number of roads and crossings is likely to increase over the next several decades. That’s a main takeaway of Ben Goldfarb’s new book Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet. In this interview, Goldfarb discusses the small animals that get caught crossing, the problem of noise pollution and how it’s possible to design better roads. (Amanda Heidt | ScienceNews)
Understanding the arguments of localism: In a review of two recent books on localism, Mark Chao dives into the growing discussions about local decision making amid the politics of larger geographies. He suggests that increases in calls for local decision-making should be viewed with increased scrutiny. While localism could be seen as a good outcome given state and national neglect, it also can produce poor outcomes in the name of good. (Mark Chao | Urban Affairs Review)
Can companies solve the housing crisis?: The housing crisis is leading more companies to come up with funding solutions, but ultimately the problem is too large for this number of companies to solve alone. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group and others have tried to throw money in the form of loans at the issue, but the results have been a relatively small number of units compared with the size of the shortage. It does show, however, that steady funding for low-income projects could make a difference if enough is provided. (Amanda Abrams | The Guardian)
What is placemaking, anyway?: Reinier de Graaf is confused by the word placemaking. Although popular in discussions about urbanism and planning, the word has no standard definition, making it easy to fit the arguments of those using it (which could create consensus among opposing views). Will we ever see a clear definition of the term? De Graaf wonders if anyone really wants one. (Reinier de Graaf | Dezeen)
Washington Metro’s hard-charging GM: Randy Clarke came to the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) from Capital Metro in Austin, Texas, last summer and has made an impression locally as he rides the trains and gins up service increases. But a $750 million budget deficit might spoil his hard work, amid a national impression of transit service that’s built up from DC’s specific niche of serving public servants and lawmakers. (Jared Brey | Governing)
Quote of the Week
“I have done everything I could possibly do to try to work within the system. It’s tricky because, in local government, very few people are in charge of a lot of big decisions. It seems for a long time this plan for the city to have urban density, growth and development was not actually being enacted by the people making those decisions.”