Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

EVs Aren’t the Key to a Sustainable Future

All the city news you can use.

By - Jun 19th, 2021 12:05 pm
Electric car charging station. (CC0 Public Domain)

Electric car charging station. (CC0 Public Domain)

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.

A controversial way to increase public space in New York: New York architect Eran Chan wonders if Manhattan’s city blocks could be split open to provide more available public space. By breaking up some of the 100 foot blocks with courtyards, gardens, outdoor cafes and public space, the design could open the city for a new network of green space that improves the lives of residents. There has however been some pushback on twitter saying it would likely be easier to take parking spaces for the same purposes. (Nate Berg | Fast Company)

Rush hour could flatten out with remote work: Rush hour has been the bane of transportation planners existence since the industrial revolution. But during the pandemic a new trend of a flattened rush hour peak emerged making many transportation experts wonder if rush hour will continue to be flat because of remote work. This could offer opportunities to better overall transit access, as agencies could schedule consistent service all day. (Emily Badger | New York Times)

Being mayor has become the worst job in politics: The past year has seen mayors struggle and be the scapegoat of urban problems like coronavirus lockdowns and racial justice crises. Mayors of the largest 25 cities are largely Democrats, but are dealing with an unstable and fractured populace. These issues are making being mayor less and less desirable, and many mayors are calling it quits opting not to run for re-election. (Alan Greenblat | Governing)

Local control creates regional and national problems: Local zoning control can create massive macroeconomic impacts by underminding federal fiscal policy and misallocating labor argues Will Wilkinson. Giving zoning power to states over municipalities could allow more projects to get built building up housing stock rather than wasting precious time on debate and local homeowner infighting. (Will Wilkinson | Model Citizen)

Electric Vehicles Won’t Save Us: The rhetoric around electric vehicles is far too focused on how EVs will prevent emissions and doesn’t begin to address the real problems of autocentricity such as sprawling land use patterns and unsustainable infrastructure. Rather, the “EV revolution” is merely replacing an evil with a lesser dupe, and preventing society from taking off the shackles of car dependency that make the U.S. economically, environmentally, socially and physically weak and disconnected. (Coby Lefkowitz | Marker on Medium)

Alissa Guther contributed to these summaries

Quote of the Week

Both the settlement and the ISR are designed to get money into the community. There was concern about having people pay a fee to pollute and not give back to the communities bearing the brunt of the emissions.

-Attorney Adrian Martinez in Bloomberg CityLab discussing a recently negotiated environmental settlement with a planned major California logistics center.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Sharon Roerty, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Maki Kawaguchi, a director at Gehl, to talk about the Inclusive Healthy Places Framework.

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