National Links: The Great Asynchronisation

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 that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national and international links, sometimes entertaining or absurd but often useful.

Dutch architect’s vision for floating buildings: As sea level rise becomes a greater threat, Dutch architect Koen Olthuis is designing buildings that float. The buildings are unlike houseboats in that they are designed on concrete slabs with poles that allow the building to rise and fall with the water level. The Netherlands is likely prepared for a 3-5 meter ocean rise, but he believes perhaps it’s time to give some of the land currently in polders back to the water and build sturdier buildings than the ones now on fill. (Kyle Chayka | The New Yorker)

Profit sharing idea for suffering downtowns: Commercial real estate in downtowns is struggling as more people work from home in the wake of the pandemic. Lenders could bear the brunt of impacts, but cities are also worried this will reduce the tax base that comes from these buildings as they are reassessed. One solution suggested to keep cities from feeling a great impact is tax-exempt bonds that allow governments to partake in future turnarounds that would usually accrue to property buyers alone. (Girard Miller | Governing)

The Great Synchronisation and the Great Asynchronisation: Throughout time humans became more synchronized with the development of timekeeping apparatus that allowed for industrialization and schedules that kept everything running. David Levinson says now technology is allowing for the asynchronisation of time, meaning people can be connected without being “there”. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend and it could have a big impact on transportation modes that depend on work and destinations where people all have to be in the same place at the same time. (David Levinson | Transportist)

Atlanta’s mayor announces four new infill stations: Atlanta’s Mayor has announced that MARTA will build four infill stations including one at a future Beltline crossing. The stations are being built to give riders access to more destinations in a system that’s often seen as underutilized. The station connected to the Beltline will give riders access to a potential transit corridor in the future. (Zachary Hansen | Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

America’s climate boomtowns: Many cities in the Midwest peaked in population in the 1970s as the industrial era in the United States was at its peak. Now after half a century of decline, they could see a resurgence as climate change begins to impact places prone to wildfires, extreme heat, and sea level rise. Because of the Great Lakes and the abundance of fresh water, these areas could act as a climate refuge and grow once again. (Abrahm Lustgarten | The Atlantic)

This week on the podcast, vehicle designer Dan Sturges joins us to talk about his book Near to Far: A Design for a New and Equitable Transportation System.

Quote of the Week

“They received funding because of how great their plan was and how robust their safety plan was going to be, and so I do think this scaling back will actually hinder them from being able to take advantage of the Safe Streets and Roads for All program. If they apply again, I think that would hurt them.”

— Tiffany Smith, program manager for the nationwide Vision Zero Network in Houston Public Media discussing the Houston mayor’s decision to deemphasize Vision Zero

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