National links: Are old homes all they’re cracked up to be?

The argument that new houses are better than old ones. Nonprofits and foundations are taking over traditional areas of governance. How Los Angeles could get its sidewalks up to par faster.

Out with the old: UCLA researcher M. Nolan Gray believes we should stop worshipping older homes, instead focusing on new and more housing stock that’s safer and more energy efficient. While he’s not against preserving design and history, the problem is that we continue to not build enough housing, causing us to pay more for older housing that isn’t up to current standards. (M. Nolan Gray | The Atlantic)

Who really governs cities?: In his new book “Constructing Community,” Jeremey Levine discusses how the governance of American cities has shifted away from traditional urban machine politics as the public sector atrophies. Jake Blumgart interviews Levine in part about the rise of non-profits and foundations that have taken over some public sector functions, governing from outside of established accountability such as elections. (Jake Blumgart | Governing)

A way to fix broken sidewalks faster: In 2016, disability rights activists won a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles over the sad state of its sidewalks. As a result, the city is required to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years on sidewalks, but progress has been frustratingly slow. UCLA professor Donald Shoup suggests that the city can speed up the process by requiring sidewalks be repaired and ADA compliant before a home is sold, putting the onus on homeowners to make faster fixes to the 10,750 mile network. (Donald Shoup | Bloomberg CityLab)

Milan is getting a bike network expansion: The Italian city of Milan has approved a plan to build a 750 km (466 mi) bike path network by 2035. The idea is to put 86% of the city’s 1.4 million residents within a kilometer of the bike network, which includes four circular lines around the core and 16 radial lines. The program is expected to cost 225 million euros. (Ron Johnson | Momentum Mag)

National links: Are old homes all they’re cracked up to be?

Blocking out a recycling alternative: Residents of Boise, Idaho, have been asked to separate some hard-to-recycle plastics into separate containers, first to be incinerated for energy and then to be compressed into Lego-like consruction blocks. Compliance has been low, but the city still collects 30 tons of material each month. The process creates no emissions and uses 100% of the materials, making it incredibly eco-friendly. (Rain Noe | Core77)

Quote of the week:

“We’re in a moment of urgency that has to be focused on finding solutions rather than staying focused on potential barriers. Policies are up for policymakers to change and revise as meets the needs of the moment. And we have partners along city, state, and federal government who are ready to go all in on this.”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in the Boston Globe discussing implementing policy ideas including fare-free transit.

This week on the podcast, former BART General Manager Grace Crunican moderates a panel discussing the role of board members in transit agencies with former Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority board member Monica Tibbits-Nutt and former Houston Metro board member Christof Spieler.

Continue the conversation about urbanism in the Washington region and support GGWash’s news and advocacy when you join the GGWash Neighborhood!

Tagged: accessibility, historic preservation, links, nonprofits, sidewalks

Jeff Wood is the Principal of The Overhead Wire, a consulting firm focused on sharing information about cities around the world. He hosts a weekly podcast called Talking Headways at Streetsblog USA and operates the daily news site The Overhead Wire.