Monday, July 20, 2015

Once Around the Block: Monday, July 20, 2015

I missed last week's update, so this serves as a collection of some of the more interesting urban planning and urbanism-related articles from the past two weeks.

CityLab featured a couple of interesting articles this week, including "A Brief History of Household Recycling". Not that long ago households sent 100% of their trash to landfills. Household recycling programs have helped reduce that number, but more work still needs to be done. Another CityLab article from Alana Semuels, "How Chicago Is Trying to Integrate Its Suburbs" chronicles how some affordable housing programs in Chicago are moving some residents to "opportunity areas" outside the city. This seems like a good approach, but will leave many without traditional family or social structures that they are accustomed to in the city, and away from conveniences like public transit walkable neighborhoods. Meanwhile, in many of Chicago's typically suburban municipalities, there is a growing demand for urban living.

From the Detroit Free Press, home values in Detroit are beginning to recover. It's still one of the cheapest places to buy a home, but "Detroit neighborhoods are seeing prices inch up on most residential blocks with substantial gains in the strongest areas."

Much attention was paid to Minneapolis by many urban planners in the last few weeks due to the city's relaxation of parking requirements. (See the city's official parking revisions summary page.) Developers have generally embraced the change, allowing for a greater flexibility of the type of projects built. Both Joseph Stromberg at Vox and Yonah Freemark at the Chicago-area Metropolitan Planning Council provided some analysis.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver tackled the ever interesting topic of athletic stadiums, especially those privately-owned stadiums that receive such a large amount of public funding.

Grist covers why urban density now is not what it used to be.

In the Cleveland suburb of Bainbridge Township, Ohio, the Meijer supermarket chain has made an interesting request regarding a perspective land acquisition. Meijer has reportedly submitted a proposal for a new store at the site of the former Geauga Lake Amusement Park (which I visited as a child, as well as Sea World) along with a long list of establishments the retail giant wants prohibited from locating nearby.

Back in Detroit, Stan Humphries, lead economist at Zillow, observes the city's revitalization efforts, calling other cities to take note. "Detroit is testing the hypothesis that to rebuild a broken city, it is necessary to literally destroy some parts, while essentially privatizing other large swathes."

Also, the Detroit Free Press conducted an interview with Maurice Cox, Detroit's new Planning Director.

A collection of articles discussing the conservative case for cities, against the suburbs, and what conservatives can do for cities. Also, a conservative case for more rail transit in Texas.

Finally, Slate magazine featured a breakdown of the screen and scene time that each Seinfeld character received throughout the show's existence. The show evolved in its presentation and pace, with supporting characters playing a bigger role in each show as story lines became more complex.