Looking upward at a long set of three escalators in an underground metro station.

National Links: New Ideas on Public Housing

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.

Local governments into public housing: Local governments around the world famously have built their own housing stock to create homes for residents, but now more US cities and local governments are pursuing it. Montgomery County Maryland has been the most recent example of this and has drawn attention from public officials around the country. Cities such as Atlanta, for example, have already put together a housing non-profit that will build housing on publicly owned land. (Rachel Cohen | Vox)

A building made of trees: Back in 2002 architect Mitchell Joachim wanted to look at ways to use ecological processes as part of building design. The result was a trial and error look at how to use trees as part of a building’s structure. Using white willow trees from a tree farm, Mitchell and his team have seen the trees grow on a scaffold they built in a way that uses them like ribs and allows them to come together to form a structure. (Nate Berg | Fast Company)

Toronto Streetcar benefits from enforcement: The King Street corridor in Toronto was designated a priority corridor for transit over six years ago. Residents have been frustrated for years at slow travel times on the streetcars and drivers that weren’t following the posted rules. But since enforcement started ramping up, travel times along the corridor have sped up by 50%. Travel times during rush hour have gone from 45-65 minutes when enforcement wasn’t present to 17-21 minutes when it was. (Becky Robertson | blog TO)

Transport for London AI station experiment: An experiment with artificial intelligence connected to existing CCTV cameras in a London Tube station from 2022 to September 2023 allowed the station agents to monitor for 11 different scenarios including track safety, crowding, and mobility assistance. The AI got really good at spotting fare evasion, but also showed a scary side of how much people could be monitored in the future. (James O’Malley | The Odds and Ends of History)

Creating a climate vulnerability index: The Environmental Defense Fund has created a Climate Vulnerability Index that allows users to explore data in every census tract in the US related to social, economic and health conditions. Modeled after the Environmental Justice Screening tool and others, this is the first tool to get deep into the questions of what vulnerability really means and how we can measure it. (Grist)

Quote of the Week

“My car, it was a complete crutch. Now that I’m forced to walk, I’m seeing the city more than I did before.”

Philadelphia resident Dajè Walker in the Philadelphia Inquirer discussing how ditching her car has made living in the city less expensive and more interesting.

This week on the Talking Headways podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Kathryn Howell, Director of the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland.

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