Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

Concrete’s Climate Cost and Solutions?

All the city news you can use.

By - Dec 11th, 2022 01:29 pm
Interstate 94 freeway at N. 16th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Interstate 94 freeway at N. 16th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

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.

Road to climate hell paved in concrete: At a minimum concrete makes up 6-8% of the world’s carbon emissions and the production process creates enough concrete every week to recreate the City of Paris. It’s a complicated material, but also one that needs great care to reduce planetary impact. In Chicago, each cement barge on the river carries 80 trucks worth of concrete and you start to see how it’s connected to everything. (Ted Fishman | Fast Company)

$100B Lesson on how to not build transit: If you’ve been living under a rock you still might know that transit construction costs in the United States are out of control. Everyone seems to know it but politically just can’t seem to bring themselves to care. And perhaps the worse example of how it happens is the $100B blank check for the Gateway Project on the Northeast Corridor. Not a single project built to connect people, but a long wish list from railroads and transit agencies. (Aaron Gordon | Motherboard)

Short term rentals creating small town problems: Short term rental companies like AirBnB and VRBO are causing problems for small tourist towns across the country. The pandemic saw increases in people who could work anywhere and travel which has increased the value of vacation homes in these spots, but also pushed out long time residents. In Sedona Arizona with its picturesque red rocks, up to 15% of the housing stock is used for short term rentals with no relief in sight for workers who keep the town running. (Rosie Bradbury | Wired Magazine)

Breaking up auto oriented superblocks in San Diego: San Diego has approved of a bold plan in the Mira Mesa area to rezone large car oriented superblocks for pedestrian friendly urban village development. Some of the large streets will be redesigned with bus and bike lanes and plans are for 24,000 new homes in denser developments and over 30,000 jobs. (David Garrick | San Diego Union Tribune)

Boston highway decision still resonates: 50 years ago last week, Boston killed a highway plan that would have run 8 miles into the South End. The road would have destroyed neighborhoods and cut up the fabric of the city. But the decision also left space for a now beloved four mile park and set the groundwork for the Ted Williams Tunnel and the Big Dig while killing the Innerbelt highway project. At the time it was a tough decision for Governor Sargent, but one that resonates even today. (Danny McDonald | Boston Globe)

Quote of the Week

But we don’t need to be subsidizing institutional investors to go buy up housing in working-class neighborhoods and holding them for appreciation and turning them into Airbnbs.

-California Representative Ro Khanna on his bill “The Stop Wall Street Landlords Act” that would limit tax and other benefits given to institutional housing investors.

This week on the podcast, we sit down with Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon’s Third District at the Rail~Volution conference in Miami.

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