Your terrible commute is probably really hurting your health. New methods of urban planning go beyond static spaces and delve into how people actually use them. Los Angeles might charge drivers by the mile to tame its traffic problems.
The heavy health costs of traffic: On average, American commuters spend 42 hours a year sitting in traffic, which adds to their stress and poor mental health. Long-term exposure to vehicle exhaust has been connected with respiratory problems, especially in children. One study found that to save one minute in traffic, people would sacrifice another five minutes of leisure, while another connected commute stress with nightime domestic violence. (Austin Frakt | New York Times)
Urban planning is turning into interaction planning: Social media and user-tailored advertising create dynamic interactions and activities beyond the static physical space that urban planners commonly research. Damiano Cerrone of the Spin Unit research lab calls this new way of thinking “Interaction Planning.” It allows urban planners to analyze space, activities, and value to capture the evolving urban landscape beyond the tangible boundaries of cities. (Valeria Danin | Pop Up City)
LA considers congestion pricing: LA County officials are mulling congestion pricing, converting carpool lanes to toll lanes, and taxing drivers based miles driven. Over the next decade, a per-mile tax is estimated to generate $102 Billion toward the county's expanding transit network, just in time for the 2028 Olympics. Besides reducing Angelenos' pervasive car dependency, officials also need to address growing equity concerns over the costs of congestion pricing. (Laura J. Nelson | Los Angeles Times)
Using “urban rooms” to plan: Singapore, Melbourne, and cities in China have popularized “urban rooms”—large exhibition halls with models of the city that encourage public conversation and education, and allows them to actively participate in shaping their environment. Augmented with digital media and VR, the rooms help provide the community engagement needed for transparent urban planning. Now the practice is gaining traction in the UK. (Tom Dixon + Lorraine Farrelly | The Conversation)
Segregation runs deep in Illinois: Segregation between blacks and whites is worse in most of Illinois' metro areas than in demographically-similar areas across the country. This system is maintained by city and state officials, whether explicitly or through ingrained attitudes. Disproportionate land use regulations, infrastructure development, and public services reinforce this divide, perpetuating the state's legacy of racism and white flight. (Daniel C. Vock + J. Brian Charles + Mike Maciag | Governing)
Quote of the Week
“This is a problem that is rooted in our political culture. It’s a problem that’s rooted in the myths we tell ourselves about who we are as Americans. We’ve always been skittish and uncomfortable with the idea of housing subsidies, or even interventions like rent control.”
Matthew Gordon Lasner in the New York Times discussing why Microsoft might have jumped in to spend $500m on Seattle housing.
This week on Talking Headways: The former and current CEOs of Cleveland's RTA talk about 10 years of bus rapid transit.