An interesting article on the trend of living alone. Since we’ve been writing so much about housing, it seemed like a good piece to include this week. It will be interesting to see how long this “housing mismatch” continues or alternatively, how living arrangements change.
Two stories on the Tactical Urbanism Facebook page caught my eye. First off, a video about the Detroit Bus Company, started by a frustrated 25-year old entrepreneur after Detroit’s long-anticipated light rail project was canned (but is now back on).
Second is an anonymously spraypainted guerilla crosswalk in New Haven, CT which has gone legit, complete with city-sponsored street improvements like curb bumps, trees, and outdoor seating areas. Closer to home, don’t forget that Park(ing) Day is just around the corner, on September 20th!
More about tactical urbanism here.
Worth a look: a fascinating visualization of national transit ridership trends in the US from 2002 through 2012, courtesy of Seattle-based Schema Design.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has a nice compilation of mass-market electric vehicles over the decades. The upshot: today there are more options, greater efficiencies, and higher driving ranges than ever!
From Todd Litman at the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, comes the sanest thing I’ve read to date about self-driving cars. The nutshell version: despite the hype, it’s probably going to be three to four decades before a significant share of cars on the road can actually drive themselves; and the implications of that trend are largely unknowable. Driverless cars could ease vehicle dependence (through car sharing) or boost it (by making car trips safer and more pleasant). And which effect predominates will likely depend on what happens with other trends that unfold as the technology matures: smart growth, car sharing, fuel prices, and more.
Check out these fascinating maps that show the extent of American racial segregation. Wired reminds us that “last year, a pair of researchers from Duke University published a report with a bold title: The End of the Segregated Century. US cities, the authors concluded, were less segregated in 2012 than they had been at any point since 1910. But less segregated does not necessarily mean integrated—something this incredible map makes clear in vivid color.”
My esteemed mentor (and MA thesis advisor) David Domke—chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Washington—writes in Crosscut about his recent “civil rights pilgrimage.” He reminds us that MLK’s I Have a Dream speech is something to celebrate, but that it’s only one “mountain top” piece of the story of ongoing struggle, fear, courage, and brutality that defines the civil rights era. He also reminds us that in marking the anniversary of the speech, we must be clear that the march goes on.
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Meanwhile, in my home town (Anacortes, WA), the Tethys proposal to build the nation’s largest water bottling plant—that’s right, the size of 17 football fields and drinking up five million gallons of Skagit River water per day—awaits a decision by the three-member Board of Skagit County Commissioners. The question hinges on how extensive an EIS they will require. (You may recall that Anacortes’s long-time mayor Dean Maxwell went rogue a few years ago and negotiated the water supply agreement that gives Tethys the right to 5 million gallons of the City’s water per day, with only an after-the-fact endorsement by the Anacortes City Council.) Cascadia Weekly has a great overview of the situation, including concerns about vehicle and train traffic, realistic jobs estimates, risks to delicate salmon recovery areas near the plant site, and what water concerns coming decades will bring in a changing climate.
Finally, bugs: Would you (could you) eat them? I’ve been hearing a lot lately about insect protein being the new, sustainable thing—or even the only real sustainable protein, period. My co-workers may mock me but I’ve become convinced that in my daughter’s lifetime Americans will need to heartily embrace insect cuisine, like many other cultures have done forever around the world. I’ve even tried hard not to instill my own (learned) gross-out factor in my toddler when it comes to what’s palatable. (I smiled and nodded when she reported having eaten a worm. Good for her! She’ll be ready!) Anyway, this piece about a Seattle chef driving the gourmet bug revolution in our midst caught my eye. There’s a cookbook! Would you? Could you? Have you?
A fantastic idea from our friends over at 350.org: name hurricanes after the obstructionist lawmakers on climate change policy. I mean, did you ever listen to that This American Life about Hurricane Katrina? I know I’m about eight years late to that scene, but it is well worth a listen—or a re-listen. I’m sadly sure we have many such storms yet in the works.
I’m digging into (and digging) this WonkBlog series—Part 1 here—on the cost of higher education.