Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

The “Bluelining” of Cities in Red States

All the city news you can use.

By - Oct 10th, 2020 09:58 am

Charlotte, NC. Photo by Riction (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Charlotte, NC. Photo by Riction (Own work) (CC BY-SA 3.0) or (GFDL)], 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 (or international) links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

An unprecedented loss of small businesses and labor participation: Since the pandemic began, the country’s wealthiest have increased thier hoard by $845B as small businesses are facing losses never seen during any recession. Experts believe the pain is likely to get worse given an already low labor participation rate and looming reductions in unemployment benefits. The failure of decision makers to realize existing damage could also make recovery harder. (Bob Hennelly | Salon)

The new politics of bluelining: Researchers looking at metro areas in swing states have found that the deep political divide results in distorted policy agendas that limit the potential for economic growth. Gerrymandering and more conservative laws written by rural interests are more likely to siphon off tax dollars and pre-empt city autonomy. (Karen Danielson, Robert Lang, David Damore | Brookings Institute)

The unequal urban commute: Policy makers have the ability to reduce inequities in transportation but often lack the clear definitions and measures that would make it possible. This leads to these transportation systems re-establishing mismatches in the built environment, allowing higher income residents greater access to public transit while limiting access to jobs and opportunities for non white populations. (Wesley Jenkins | Urban Institute)

Accounting for all neighborhood emissions: Planners in the Norwegian city of Bergen are building a zero emissions regenerative neighborhood from a sprawling warehouse and container district called Dokken. In order to reach the goal, life cycle accounting will measure each step of the process. And with no private owners to negotiate with, the goals will be set high to push the limits of innovation. (Adele Peters | Fast Company)

Venice will finally avoid the tides: Venice Italy is known for its canals and waterways and the fact that the city is slowly sinking into the lagoon in which it sits. High tides frequently cover a third of the city but last week barriers built in the lagoon held back the water for the first time ever. The barriers have been subject of numerous controversies including corruption, over a decade in delays, and large cost overruns but now officials are happy they are finally completed and work as planned. (Colleen Barry | AP)

Vanya Srivastava contributed to these summaries.

Quote of the Week

Most people who are cycling used public transport before. But now they need an alternative. Before Covid we had 1,000 cyclists [on the main shopping street], now we have 7,000.

-Milan’s Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning Pierfrancesco Maran in BBC News discussing the massive increases in cycling, the topic also of a 20 minute BBC feature.

This week on the podcast, Angie Schmitt joins the show to talk about her book “Right of Way”.

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Categories: Urban Reads

One thought on “Urban Reads: The “Bluelining” of Cities in Red States”

  1. B says:

    Thanks for sharing the article about bluelining. It is easy for the state to tie Milwaukee’s shoes together and then complain when it trips.

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