National links: a new measure of road safety

Every day at The Overhead Wire we collect city news and send the links to our mailing list. At the end of the week, we take some of the most popular stories and post them on Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the DC area. These are national ties, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

The INVEST law pushes back the construction of roads: The House’s most recent transportation bill pushes the first mindset that has animated the United States in years to the streets. House transport and infrastructure committee chair Peter DeFazio believes we cannot pave the whole country and we need to focus on climate solutions. To pass it, however, donors will have to convince senators not to listen to the road building lobby and state DOTs. (Sam Mintz | Politics)

The cityscape of Soviet monovies: Corporate cities have been a part of life in many countries since the industrial revolution, but in the eastern bloc countries, the state-controlled stability of these cities weakened after the fall of the wall from Berlin. Today, a new book looks at these places and their architecture, often abandoned after years of neglect. (Andreea Cutieru | Arch Daily)

Electric cars have an environmental cost: The rush to produce electric cars that replace their petroleum-powered counterparts is raising eyebrows among environmentalists around the world. Metals such as lithium are important in battery technology, but are also part of a race to extract resources from fragile ecosystems like deserts or the bottom of the oceans. While electrification is seen as an important step towards climate solutions, it also carries the risk of irreparable damage. (Evan Halper | Los Angeles Times)

Airbnb tries to sell itself as a savior: The pandemic has impacted businesses in different ways, but Airbnb has been bowled over by the lack of travel and interaction. Now, as places start to open up again, they’re trying to capitalize on the growth in travel. However, by selling themselves to cities as saviors, they are looking beyond the damage they have caused by moving people to working-class neighborhoods around the world. (Katya Schwenk | Business Insider)

A new metric for safer streets: New research from the University of Pennsylvania examines the use of biometric data from cognitive workload assessments of pedestrians and cyclists to understand how these road users process information for safety. High workload areas are likely to create a higher accident threat. The benefit of using this metric is understanding dangerous intersections before they result in a collision and death. (Erica Brockmeier | Penn today)

Quote of the week

“During the focus group, participants unanimously expressed their love for the new outdoor dining scene. Fewer parking spaces did not discourage them, quite the contrary. New patios and pop-up markets drew them from the suburbs to the city, and deeper into their own neighborhoods, often on foot.

Rachel Slade in Boston Magazine discussing how the city could benefit from the lack of a car.

This week in podcast, we are joined by Mark Perepelitza, sustainability director at SERA Architects.

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