Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

The Cost of Sprawl

All the city news you can use.

By - Oct 22nd, 2017 10:04 am

Sprawl. Photo by David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons [ ]

Sprawl. Photo by David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Every day at The Overhead Wire we sort through over 1,500 news items about cities and share the best ones with our email list. At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and share them with Urban Milwaukee readers. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

A house built on a parking space: The Tikku, a narrow tall house with a base the size of a parking space was designed and built for Helsinki Design Week. The three story 403 square foot house is built of cross laminated timber and would cost about $41,000. There’s no running water or kitchen, but I’m sure that could be fixed in future iterations. (New Atlas)

Nashville transit expansion: Mayor Megan Barry of Nashville has announced that the city will go to the voters soon to raise funding for a massive bus and light rail expansion. The expansion, expected to cost $5.2 billion, would be paid for with a half cent sales tax and include a downtown bus and rail tunnel, light rail and bus rapid transit lines, in addition to increased frequencies on several bus routes. (Tennessean)

Lost in the sprawl: The cost of sprawl is estimated to be around $1 trillion dollars, but money isn’t the only thing we lose when we grow further out into the hinterlands. Author Steve Gleydura mourns the loss of the fields where he and his friends played ball, used slingshots, and all those things that kids do. Those spaces, now a garage, might make us think about what happens when we grow into spaces that were before left fallow. (Cleveland Magazine)

Learning about movement between the fare gates: After four weeks of collecting data from WiFi last summer, Transport for London analyzed 500 million connections inside stations resulting in some interesting findings. They found that in the morning at Oxford Circus, there is the same amount of activity as in the afternoon but it is mostly transfers which they weren’t aware of before because they were only using data from Oyster Cards, which measure ins and outs at fare gates. This type of analysis could soon determine express service stops or directional priority. (Slate)

Toronto is now home of Alphabet: Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has signed an agreement with the City of Toronto to develop a waterfront area named Quayside as a new smart city. They plan to spend $50 million on the endeavor testing new construction technology, sensors for everything, and new types of energy systems. (Fast Company Co-Design)

Quote of the Day

This idea of actually designating a mining area and not allowing any other development really is critical. And if we’re doing that, we probably don’t need to worry for the next 40 or 50 years.

Fred Corrigan, executive director of the Aggregate & Ready Mix Association of Minnesota, discussing how to create new mines for aggregate (sand and gravel) to support the construction of buildings and roads. Minneapolis is facing a possible shortage. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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