A web of freeway ramps and bridges fill the frame.

National Links: Urban Renewal Ruined Everything

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.

Urban renewal ruined everything: The United States has had a hard time lately building large infrastructure and transportation projects, and Darrell Owens believes this is due to the legacy of urban renewal in the 1950s and ’60s. Stated goals such as urban revitalization and improved access were never realized. Instead, the devastating side effects were a legacy of neighborhood destruction and the decimation of government capacity to build large projects. (Darrell Owens | The Discourse Lounge)

Mexico City running out of water: Last year was Mexico’s hottest and driest in the past 70 years. And now, the system of dams and canals that provides over a quarter of Mexico City’s water is at just 30% capacity, leading some to believe the city could soon reach a day where it can’t reliably provide water. The rainy season usually starts in June so there could be some relief, but after several years of below-average rain, there’s no guarantee. (Somini Sengupta, Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, James Wagner | New York Times)

Medicaid insurer takes on affordable housing: The philanthropic wing of America’s largest Medicaid insurer, Centene, has pledged almost $1 billion toward affordable housing by offering below-market loans to a development partner. The article notes that 80% of health outcomes are driven by non-medical causes. Access to food, housing and child care (often referred to as the social determinants of health) are seen as part of a health system that starts long before someone sets foot in a hospital. (Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez | Forbes via Yahoo News)

The buildings that could have been: A new book shows many grand buildings and architectural schemes that were never built. The “Atlas of Never Built Architecture” explores plans that were too weird, expensive or politically motivated to be completed, but still keep the fascination of architects. The book shares 350 projects from all over the world from famous and obscure architects alike. (Oliver Wainwright | The Guardian)

Seattle’s new bike intersection: Seattle has recently opened a new protected intersection just a few blocks from the iconic Space Needle. The project provides a bike connection between the South Lake Union neighborhood and Seattle Center and is part of a larger set of improvements. Plans for this specific corridor originated in 2013, and the intersection includes concrete islands and sensors that allow bike riders to follow bike-oriented signals. (Nicholas Deshais | Seattle Times)

This week on the podcast, Jarrett Walker joins us again to talk about the release of the revised edition of his influential book “Human Transit.”

Quote of the Week

“It obviously affects me because it means more money disappears from my salary every day, but the worst part about it is that there is zero investment in the service. We commute in terrible conditions, cramped, delayed, and now we are paying more.”

— Sofia Acosta in Associated Press discussing the 360% fare spike in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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