Every day at The aerial thread, we collect news about cities and send links to our mailing list. At the end of the week, we take some of the most popular stories and post them on Great Great Washington, a group blog similar to street.mn that focuses on urban issues in the DC area. These are national ties, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.
A controversial way to increase public space in New York: New York architect Eran Chan wonders if the city blocks of Manhattan could be divided to make more public space available. By breaking up some of the 100-foot blocks with courtyards, gardens, outdoor cafes, and public spaces, the design could open up the city to a new network of green spaces that improve the lives of residents. However, there have been reactions on Twitter saying it would likely be easier to take parking spaces for the same purposes. (Nate Berg | Fast business)
Rush hour could smooth out with remote working: Rush hour has been the bane of the existence of transportation planners since the industrial revolution. But during the pandemic, peak rush hours flattened out, leading many transportation experts to question whether rush hours will continue to be stable due to remote working. This could provide opportunities for better overall access to public transport, as agencies could schedule consistent service throughout the day. (Émilie Badger | New York Times)
Being mayor has become the worst job in politics: The past year has seen mayors struggle and become the scapegoat for urban issues like coronavirus lockdowns and racial justice crises. The mayors of the 25 largest cities are largely Democrats, but they are dealing with an unstable and fractured population. These problems make being mayor less and less desirable, and many mayors abandon it, choosing not to stand for re-election. (Alan Greenblat | Governing)
Local control creates regional and national problems: Local zoning control can have massive macroeconomic impacts by undermining federal tax policy and misallocating the workforce, says Will Wilkinson. Giving zoning power to states, rather than municipalities, could allow more projects to build and build housing stock, rather than wasting precious time in debates and infighting among local landlords. (Will Wilkinson | Model citizen)
Electric vehicles won’t save us: The rhetoric around EVs is far too focused on how EVs will prevent emissions and fails to begin to address real self-centricity issues such as sprawling land use patterns and unsustainable infrastructure. On the contrary, the “electric vehicle revolution” simply replaces an evil with a lesser dupe and prevents society from shedding the shackles of car addiction that make the United States economically, environmentally, socially and physically weak and disconnected. (Coby Lefkowitz | Marker on medium)
Alissa Guther has contributed to these summaries
Quote of the week
“Both the settlement and the SRI are designed to bring money into the community. There was concern that people would pay a levy to pollute and not give back to the communities that suffer most of the emissions. “
Lawyer Adrian Martinez in Bloomberg CityLab discuss a recently negotiated environmental agreement with a major Californian logistics center.
This week in podcast, we are joined by Sharon Roerty, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Maki Kawaguchi, Director at Gehl, to talk about the Inclusive Healthy Places framework.