Every day, The Overhead Wire collects news about cities and sends the links to their 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 and international links, sometimes entertaining or absurd but often useful.
Land use reforms spur housing development: A recent analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts found that land use reforms in Minneapolis have increased housing stock 12% while seeing a 1% increase in rents. The rest of the state has increased housing stock only 4% and seen a 14% increase in rents. As rents have remained stable, wages have increased in Minneapolis — creating even more value for renters. The changes also impact homelessness as well: Rates fell in Minneapolis and went up around the state. (Molly Bolan | Route Fifty)
Drivers getting more dangerous: In a deep dive for the New York Times Magazine, Matthew Shaer looks at collective trauma, history, peer pressure and current issues around traffic safety that have led to more fatalities on the roads in the United States. He also examines how auto companies’ focus on making money shortchanges safety for drivers and what increases in stress do to people behind the wheel. (Matthew Shaer | New York Times Magazine)
Detroit for the land value tax: The land value tax promoted by Henry George in the late 19th century is seeing a resurgence in discussion. The City of Detroit is considering changing its structure to align more with a land value tax to disincentivize land speculation on vacant properties, thousands of which have been purchased by single entities. But the change depends on a vote by residents approval by the state to hold and election. (Rachel Cohen | Vox)
Pittsburgh’s approach to stormwater: The latest National Climate Assessment lauds Pittsburgh for innovative rules related to protecting residents against intense rainfall events that result from a changing climate. Large development projects with impervious surfaces are required to install green infrastructure for runoff, and the rules are some of the first to be set based on expectations of future runoff. (Jon Hurdle | The Allegheny Front)
Lower speeds, reduce emissions: By lowering speeds to below 30 kilometers an hour (18 mph), Canadian cities can increase safety while improving movement and reducing emissions, argues Jörg Broschek. More than 260 German cities asked the government to allow them to fully implement 30 km-an-hour zones, which have shown positive impacts. But it can be politically hard for auto-centric places, like much of the United States, built around driving. (Jorg Broschek | Policy Options Politiques)
This week on the podcast, we’re at the 2023 Mpact conference closing plenary in Phoenix, Arizona. Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Transportation Policy at USDOT, Christopher Coes leads a panel discussing how to make central cities thrive again.
Quote of the Week
“In his speech to the Conservative conference in October, Mark Harper, the transport secretary, described 15-minutes cities as schemes in which ‘local councils can decide how often you go to the shops,’ which was incorrect and has never been proposed in the United Kingdom. While many critics assumed at the time this was just rhetoric, the documents indicate Harper and the Department for Transport (DfT) used this definition as the basis for one of the biggest shifts in transport policy for decades.”
— Peter Walker in The Guardian describing how the UK transport secretary used conspiracy theories to create policy