New York is becoming a haven for the wealthy and losing what once made it great, the author argues. Climate change is influencing homebuyers' decisions. The Boring Company's bid to build a transport line in Chicago seems really low for a project so large.
Death of a once-great city: New York City is changing. In this longform piece, Kevin Baker argues that the once-gritty, freewheeling city is losing its spirit and becoming a haven for the rich, at the expense of the quirks (and the people) that once made it interesting. (Kevin Baker / Harper's Magazine)
Climate change is determining housing decisions: Homebuyers in the United States have been taking climate change seriously, even if regulations and rhetoric are slow to take hold. Purchasing data shows that home prices in dangerous areas depreciated over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017. It's tricky though, because many homes in dangerous areas are also seen as benefiting from the amenity of location close to water. (Christopher Flavelle and Allison McCartney / Bloomberg)
The Boring Company's cheap bid: After months of speculation, Elon Musk's Boring Company was awarded the rights to build a transport line between O'Hare airport and Chicago's central business district. Sources reveal that the cost is expected to be $1 billion. However, observers are extremely skeptical of that number. If the project fails, many of Musk's investors will be out a lot of money, as no public funds are expected to be used. (Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge)
Dismantling racial discrimination protections at HUD: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicated that it may reverse Obama-era rules that prohibit subtle forms of racial discrimination in housing, namely any “facially neutral practice that has a discriminatory effect.” HUD is also battling a fair housing law in court and wants to drastically raise rents on low-income families. (Kriston Capps / CityLab)
The autonomous road to municipal ruin: Cities are highly dependent on revenue generated by vehicles, from registration and parking fees to gas taxes and more. But in a new autonomous future, those sources are likely to dry up as vehicles get safer and have no need to park. Replacing these revenue sources is tough, especially at a time when states are starting to limit the ability of cities to raise fees on companies the author calls “fundamentally predatory.” (Susan Crawford / Wired)
Did the Blitz benefit London's long term economy? From September of 1940 to May of 1941, the German Luftwaffe dropped 18,000 tons of bombs on London in a campaign now known as “the Blitz.” Researchers looked at data showing where the bombs landed and destroyed urban form in tandem with what those areas look like today, showing the relaxation of codes after the destruction led to economic growth. (Gerard Dericks and Hans Koster / Spatial Economics Research Centre)
Quote of the Week
“But just as Brits can claim no monopoly on the sun in our low-skied, grey-clouded land, so ancient humans all over the world refashioned their own built environments to mark and celebrate important solar moments in the calendar.”
Justin Marrozzi in The Guardian talking about cities that have been designed around the longest day of the year.
This Week's Talking Headways Podcast features Odetta MacLeish White of Atlanta's Transformation Alliance