Bryant Park in New York by Wally Gobetz licensed under Creative Commons.

A revisited study shows how people behave and use public spaces. QR codes cause a bottleneck in pay queues for commuters in China, while NFC can be faster. A poll shows that Salt Lake City wants free buses.

How we behave in public spaces: A design firm published an updated version of William H. Whyte’s The Field Guide to Urban Plazas, which looks at how people in New York behave in public, and categorized some of the common ways people utilize public space. Complete with graphics, the report explores the “Donut Effect,” when park visitors occupy the edges before the middle, “Roosting,” where visitors settled on high viewpoints overlooking the park, and much more. (The Guardian)

QR codes lengthen commutes: Mobile phone payments have become nearly ubiquitous in China’s transit systems, but riders have been struggling to pull out their phones, open the right app, and pull up the code. NFC (near-field communication), used by Apple Pay and Google Pay, is much faster and is considered more secure, but people still like QR codes. NFC requires just a tap of the phone to pay as it relies on radio waves, making it as convenient as traditional transit cards. (Masha Borak | Abacus)

Salt Lake City wants free buses: A new poll of Salt Lake City residents want free-fare buses at a significant 3-1 margin. Nearby Park City and Cache County already offer free-fare transit systems. Those who polled in support of free fares were found across all age, education, religious, and gender groups in the city. (Lee Davison | Salt Lake Tribune)

The emoji house and the complex issues around Airbnb: In Manhattan Beach, a city outside Los Angeles, a homeowner painted her home hot pink and plastered emojis on the exterior. Neighbors say it was retalitaion for them reporting her for illegally listing her home on Airbnb. This has sparked debates over what neighbors can do when they live next to such properties. The company’s air-tight terms of service agreement generally prevent any kind of legal action from neighbors. The common argument, however, is that communities surrounding Airbnb rentals do not consent to the impacts of short-term rentals. (Kari Paul | The Guardian)

Seattle’s answer to housing segregation: Researchers partnered with the Seattle and King County Housing Authorities to put a twist on the housing voucher system. Families who receive Section 8 subsidies typically choose not to relocate to an area with more opportunities, so these researchers provided a random group with information about neighborhoods promising the most opportunity for their children and other resources. More than a year in, researchers saw a change from 14% to 54% in the share of families moving to high-opportunity neighborhoods. (Dylan Matthews | Vox)

Quote of the Week

“It’ll be a tidal wave that’ll swamp many boats, especially Des Moines residents who are making less than $90,000 per year.”

Lance Henning, executive director of the Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity in Curbed talking about the new restrictive zoning requirements from the new code.

This week on the podcast, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale BC and Translink Parlimentary Secretary Bowinn Ma discusses political engagement, transportation improvement, and more!