Loneliness is reaching epidemic levels, but these interventions could help cities foster connection. Minneapolis is set to pass a plan that would upzone the entire city and do away with single-family zoning. The FRA is finally allowing lighter passenger railcars made in Asian and European countries on US rails.
Designing cities to counter loneliness: Some experts say lonlieness is an epidemic; negative health effects of chronic social isolation are equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But there are ways cities can combat this phenomenon. Designing for interaction in public spaces, social inclusion apps, and other interventions make it possible to not just study lonliness, but also foster connection. (Tanzil Shafique | The Conversation)
Minneapolis' radical rezoning: The ambitious Minneapolis 2040 plan is expected to pass the City Council in early December. It would upzone the entire city to support more housing construction. Areas zoned for single family take up 75% of the neigborhoods, but that will change soon because at least three units will be allowed on every parcel— and more in transit corridors. The plan will be coupled with $40m in support for low-income renters and people experiencing homelessness. (Patrick Sisson | Curbed)
The FRA finally allows international train sets: The Federal Railroad Administration has finalized new safety rules that would allow lighter passenger railcars from Asian and European countries to run on American rails, which should save operaters money and riders time. Previous rules stipuled that the train cars withstand 800,000 pounds of impact in case they were to crash into freight trains. (Angie Schmitt | Streetsblog USA)
The race to become the Amazon of transportation: Between 2014 and 2016, more venture capital money went into urban technology than pharma or artificial intelligence. 70% of that spending went towards transportation, in an attempt to become the next titan of transportation. Three companies vie for the top spot: Uber, Google, and China's Didi Chuxing. Each are pouring billions into autonomous vehicles and connected networks. (Neil Sipe and Dorina Pojani | The Conversation)
Urban planning theory re: vertical neighborhoods: The Toronto region has 25 high rise projects in various stages across the region, but urban designer and author Doug Farr believes that history won't look kindly on this era. He says the buildings aren't creating quality neighborhoods on the ground floor, nor focusing on decarbonization. As new buildings go up that will be with us for decades, it shouldn't be too much to ask. (Don Wall | Daily Commercial News)
Quote of the Week
“We love our city but let’s be clear, crossing the street in New York City should not be a harrowing experience.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talking not about automobiles, but about e-bikes.
“I believe if we’re going to have a conversation around allowing e-scooters, we can’t move forward without addressing the e-bikes. What we’re trying to do is classify the e-bikes and scooters as devices instead of vehicles. The mayor’s position has always been that e-bikes are a nuisance, a problem, within the five boroughs, I think we found a path forward.”
Councilman Rafael L. Espinal Jr. pushing back on the Mayor's stance in the New York Times.
This week's Talking Headways podcast features Kate Sofis of SFMade discussing a return of urban manufacturing in cities around the country.