An airplane flying over Ontario, Canada by Jason O’Halloran licensed under Creative Commons.

The aviation industry rivals entire countries in the number of carbon emitted. For centuries, the 30-minute commute has ruled urban life. Big cities face the threat of catastrophic heatwaves.

Staggering statistics of aviation emissions: If the aviation industry were a country, it would rank among the world’s top 10 emitters of carbon dioxide. Since 2005 alone, aviation emissions have risen 70% and are forecast to increase between 300% and 700% by 2050. Most air travelers are relatively wealthy. Only 18% of the world population has ever flown, and only 3% of the world flies in any given year. (John Grant & Keith Baker | Inverse)

Urban life throughout history was shaped by this principle: The underpinning of urban life has been summed up by a concept called the Marchetti Constant, which says that most people are willing to travel about 30 minutes from their homes each way. This idea is played out in cities across time and place, from Atlanta, Georgia, to ancient Rome. (Jonathan English | Citylab)

Can we survive extreme heat?: Since the 1960s, the number of heat waves in major American cities have tripled. While water crises, hurricanes, and other consequences of climate change cause social, political, and economic conflict, perhaps the most direct cause of death in climate crisis is exposure to extreme heat. Cities like Phoenix, Arizona could face catastrophic heat waves in the near future. (Jeff Goodell | Rolling Stone)

NYC cut $1.4 billion from its rail tunnel price tag: Rail planners claim they can reduce the $11.3 billion price tag of the Gateway Project rail tunnel between New York and New Jersey by $1.4 billion. The project would rely on $10 billion in US grants and loans from the Federal Transit Administration and a $1.3 billion contribution from Amtrak. Planners anticipate breaking ground in 2021 if key federal approvals are awarded. (Elise Young | Bloomberg)

There’s a surge of investors buying starter homes: Last year, investors purchased one-fifth of all single-family starter homes on the market, double the number they bought 20 years ago. According to the 2017 American Community Survey, investors own and rent about 18.2 million one-unit homes which house 42% of the nation’s 43 million renter households. While there is a concern that investors take homeownership away from individuals and families, many investors that buy and sell homes in need of repair actually increase the housing supply. (Ellen Seidman & Sheryl Pardo | Urban Institute)

Quote of the Week

“But few know that Olmsted was also involved with the renovation of Union Square Park, two miles to the south. Smaller and more traditional in its design, this park was a democratic landscape in a different sense - a modern plaza for public meetings.”

Joanna Merwood-Salisbury in The Conversation discussing New York’s Union Square and how it has shaped free speech.

This week on the podcast, Andrew Owen of the Accessibility Observatory at the University of Minnesota joins us to chat about how to measure access as a metric.