National ties: short-term rentals cause problems for small towns

Everyday, The overhead wire collects news about cities and sends links to our mailing list. At the end of the week, they publish some of the most popular stories on Big Big Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the DC area. These are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Short-term rentals create problems in small towns: Short-term rental companies such as AirBnB and VRBO cause problems for small tourist towns in the country. The pandemic has caused an increase in the number of people who can work anywhere and travel, which has increased the value of vacation homes in those locations, but also driven out long-time residents. In Sedona, Arizona, with its scenic red rocks, up to 15% of the housing stock is used for short-term rentals with no relief in sight for the workers who keep the city running. (Rosie Bradbury | wired magazine)

Boston Freeway Decision Still Resonates: Fifty years ago last week, Boston killed a freeway plan that would have run 8 miles through the South End. The southwest highway would have destroyed neighborhoods and cut through the fabric of the city. But the decision also made room for a now-beloved four-mile park and laid the foundation for the Ted Williams Tunnel and the big dig while killing the Innerbelt freeway project. At the time, it was a tough decision for Governor Francis Sargent, but one that still resonates today. (Danny Mcdonald | boston globe)

A $100 billion lesson in how not to build public transit: If you’ve lived under a rock, you might know that the cost of building public transit in the United States is spiraling out of control. Everyone seems to know it, but politically they can’t care. And perhaps the worst example of this happening is the $100 billion blank check for the Northeast Corridor Gateway Program. Not a single project built to connect people, but a long wish list from railroads and transit agencies. (Aaron Gordon | Motherboard)

Breaking up the auto-oriented superblocks in San Diego: San Diego has approved a bold plan in the Mira Mesa area to rezone large, car-oriented superblocks for the development of pedestrian-friendly urban villages. Some of the major streets will be redeveloped with dedicated bus and bike lanes, and plans call for 24,000 new homes in denser developments and more than 30,000 jobs. (David Garrshit | San Diego Union Grandstand)

The road to climate hell paved with concrete: At a minimum, concrete accounts for 6% to 8% of global carbon emissions, and the production process creates enough concrete every week to recreate the City of Paris. It’s a complicated material, but it also requires a lot of care to reduce the planetary impact. In Chicago, every cement barge on the river carries 80 truckloads of concrete, and you start to see how it’s connected to everything. (Ted Fishman | fast company)

quote of the week

“But we don’t need to subsidize institutional investors to buy homes in working-class neighborhoods and keep them to value them and turn them into Airbnbs.”

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

This week on podcast, we sit with Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon’s Third District in Rail~Volution Conference In Miami.

Top photo courtesy of Andre Ling to Unsplash

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