Summary of “Meet the Rising New Housing Movement That Wants to Create Homes for All”

Crossing the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge on a brisk spring morning in Rochester, New York, the first thing one sees is a small tent city scattered about the banks of the Genesee River.
“See?” says resident Marianne Caleo, a chatty white woman who relies on Section 8 housing subsidies, as she points to a caved-in bathroom ceiling, its rubble sprinkled about like a noxious spice.
In Rochester, a midsize postindustrial city on Lake Ontario’s southern shore, evidence of the crisis is everywhere.
During the 2016-17 school year, the city school district reported that 8.8 percent of its students-roughly 2,500 children-were homeless at some point.
More than 50 percent of tenants in the city are rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.
While Rochester stands out as the fifth-poorest city in the country, it is no anomaly.
The same year, more than 11 million households spent at least 50 percent of their income, and another 9.8 million spent more than 30 percent, on rent.
Nearly half of the nation’s 43 million renting households live with the crushing weight of excessive housing costs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “You can’t just put homeless people in tiny houses”

Tiny houses are more than a fad for people looking to trade in their suburban homes and city apartments for something smaller and quirkier.
Though not as easy to slap together as a plugin house or a 3D printed house, the Dweller units are scaled for minimalist living, just like the tiny houses many of us dream of, and the homeowners who build them pay nothing to Dweller up front on the condition that they rent the unit to tenants.
The most ambitious tiny house program happening in America right now is taking place in Los Angeles, where Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration has launched a pilot program that involves offering loans of $75,000 to homeowners who build backyard houses on their property and rent them to homeless city residents.
While similar to the tiny house concept, the LA backyard houses aren’t bound to a single set of dimension requirements or a product like the plugin house.
Though the ADU itself is hardly a novel idea, the affordable backyard tiny house idea seems knowingly engineered to take advantage of the growing interest in tiny houses.
Does the idea of living smaller really retain its sexiness when it’s applied to affordable housing? Remember, the tiny houses that you see in magazines spreads aren’t just tiny: they’re gorgeously elegant.
As Boston area writer and tiny apartment dweller Gene Tempest explained in a brutally honest New York Times piece last summer, the minimalist dimensions of a tiny house can exacerbate the wear and tear of your furniture and absorb the weeks-old odor of food that you cooked.
If tiny houses in homeowners’ backyards are adapted as an affordable housing solution, this will further relieve city governments of strong-arming luxury apartment block developers into building more affordable housing, or even telling some of those developers to build their towers elsewhere Because that’s what people with power tend to do when asked to pony up for something that addresses structural inequality: they offer rarified alternatives that reflect their interests.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The enduring mythology of the whiz kid”

The parts of cities that most need innovation, and where the vast majority of the work is being done, is in the mundane.
The different city entities that might tear up the street on any given day didn’t have any way to communicate who was doing what when, so as a result, entire sections of the city could suddenly become impassable, or the same road might get torn up multiple times.
Syracuse has a small three-person innovation team, the result of a Bloomberg grant, headed up by Adria Finch, who grew up in the area and worked for Syracuse’s Business Development Council before coming to city government.
In some cases, cities need a little help looking at problems from new angles-the Syracuse team all participated in a three-day training on human-centered design where they learned how to ask the right questions, develop ideas, and get to the root of a problem-and city employees are then often able to fix the things that most need fixing.
As a first step, Lyons worked to reorganize the planning department, as that was where the city saw a lot of angst in citizens’ daily interactions.
Gainesville calls the new department the Department of Doing; it’s headed by Wendy Thomas, a lifelong city planner who had most recently worked in Bozeman, Montana.
In addition to saving the city money on gas, Thomas says the project also helped get others in the city government excited about the kinds of inspections they could do virtually.
The city is working on the app now, and is anticipating rolling it out to residents in early summer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The borrowers: why Finland’s cities are havens for library lovers”

In 2016 the UN named Finland the world’s most literate nation, and Finns are among the world’s most enthusiastic users of public libraries – the country’s 5.5m million people borrow close to 68m books a year.
In recognition of that fact, at a time when libraries worldwide are facing budget cuts, a decline in users and closure, Finland is bucking the trend.
Helsinki’s Rikhardinkatu Library opened in 1882 and was the first building in the Nordic countries to be built as a library.
Antti Nousjoki, one of Oodi’s architects, has described the new library as “An indoor town square” – a far cry from the stereotypical view of libraries as stale and silent spaces.
A country of readers clockwise: Lohja main library, which was completed in 2005; Vallila library, Helsinki; Aalto University library in Espoo.
Commissioned as part of Finland’s celebration of a century of independence, the library is no mere book repository.
Oodi isn’t the only Helsinki library to cause excitement.
While many libraries worldwide provide internet access and other services, libraries in cities and towns across Finland have expanded their brief to include lending e-publications, sports equipment, power tools and other “Items of occasional use”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Atomic Architecture: The Secret Cities of World War Two”

The Manhattan Project, the program that developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II, worked out of three purpose-built cities in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington state.
Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at rapid speed beginning in 1942, the instant wartime cities of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford/Richland, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico, revolved around military research.
At their peak in 1945, the three cities had a combined population of more than 125,000.
During the war, none of the cities appeared on any maps: They were the top-secret centers of the Manhattan Project, the U.S. military’s initiative to develop nuclear weapons before the Nazis got there first.
Secret Cities, a new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., explores the architecture and urban planning of the Manhattan Project sites.
Curator Martin Moeller argues that the cities reflected the broader architectural interests of their era, such as prefabrication, and that their legacy can be felt in postwar suburbs and even Park Avenue skyscrapers.
Most of the people in the secret cities hadn’t known their work was part of a program to develop nuclear weapons.
There were spies in Los Alamos and other places, so there were a few forces in the Soviet Union and elsewhere who knew about the secret cities even during the war.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Segregation map: America’s cities 50 years after the Fair Housing Act of 1968”

Since 1990, more than 90 percent of U.S. metro areas saw a decline in racial stratification, signaling a trend toward a more integrated America.
While areas like Houston and Atlanta have undergone rapid demographic changes, cities like Detroit and Chicago still have large areas dominated by a single racial group.
Some 50 years ago, policies like the Fair Housing Act and Voting Rights Act were enacted to increase integration, promote equity, combat discrimination and dismantle the lingering legacy of Jim Crow laws.
“A lot of those areas were developed after the Fair Housing Act was implemented,” he said.
“If you’re building housing and you’re subject to the Fair Housing Act you shouldn’t have in those particular units the legacy effects of segregation.”
According to Bader, persistent and deep segregation is somewhat unique to African Americans because of a number of factors: the legacy of segregated neighborhoods created during the era of Reconstruction and Jim Crow, ongoing racial preferences among whites to choose to live near other white people and significant Latino and Asian immigration happening at a time when fair housing laws were in place.
This deep segregation is particularly noticeable in cities with large African American populations.
In the book, they argue that while segregation is generally decreasing, factors such as our social networks and communities play a large role in keeping segregation embedded in American life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Millennials and the new magnetism of mid-size cities”

At the same time, it struck Bhatia that “Louisville got cool.” The city’s restaurant and bar scene, propelled in part by the surrounding region’s bourbon boom, has blossomed-“I think it’s on par with Chicago, which I realize is a controversial thing to say,” Bhatia says-and the city has a new pro sports team, the Louisville City FC soccer club, which plans to build a new stadium in the Butchertown neighborhood, part of a 40-acre, $200 million development.
In 2017, Bhatia decided to move home, joining a growing number of younger Americans returning to the small- and medium-sized cities they left after college.
Conversations with Bhatia and others, as well as some demographic data, suggests those moving home are part of a boom in the country’s second-tier cities.
The new magnetism of mid-size cities After a decade of investment in parks and greenspace, homegrown tech hubs, and downtown redevelopment, many small and mid-size metros are seeing more signs of life and increased migration, according to a recent Brookings Institution analysis of U.S. Census data.
“Taking the risk of reimagining their city” Moving to smaller cities offers a hands-on opportunity to take part in the renewal and regrowth of smaller downtowns and Main Streets, a new sense of dynamism The Atlantic’s James Fallows has called a “Reinventing of America.”
The ability to afford a home has helped many who moved from superstar metros to so-called second-tier cities connect with their new communities.
Finding a new home, and home base, for remote work The changing nature of work, especially toward service and consulting and tech, and the growth of startups in second-tier cities, has altered the equation for younger workers.
Max Wastler, a 37-year-old travel writer and brand strategist who has previously worked for companies such as Conde Nast Traveler and Basil Hayden, recently returned to his hometown of St. Louis after working in New York City, LA, and Chicago.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Copenhagen Architect Jan Gehl Takes on Smart Cities”

Architect and planner Jan Gehl looks back on how he helped transform Copenhagen into one of the world’s most livable cities and talks about how people can reclaim the streets.
Bringing hard data is the only way the government will listen, according to Jan Gehl, the pioneering Danish architect, urbanist, and planner who helped turn Copenhagen into one of the world’s most livable cities over the past 50 years.
In a conversation with Annette Becker and Lessano Negussie, the curators of the new exhibit “Ride a Bike! Reclaim the City,” now open at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany, Gehl discusses his observations and philosophies of how cities can become as bike-friendly, people-friendly, and climate-friendly as Copenhagen famously is.
One of the cities that has done the most is Copenhagen.
Since 2009, the Copenhagen city council has adopted a strategy saying: “We will be the best city for people in the world.” That means the entire city should be organized so that it becomes more convenient, comfortable, and safe for people to walk.
One of the reasons Copenhagen has gone so far with public spaces and bicycles is that we at the school of architecture at the University of Copenhagen started to study back in the 1960s how people use the city, and we became the world’s center for these kinds of studies.
The cities knew everything about traffic and nothing about people, and how and why people use the city.
What we have done in Copenhagen is to make the people who use the city visible and to document what is going on: Where people go, how many there are, how long they sit on benches, how many café chairs we have.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Intellectual life is still catching up to urbanisation”

Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China pursued a back-to-the-land agenda no less than the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal vision of razing city life altogether in Cambodia.
Some scholars look all the way back to the new systems of political organisation and the peculiar social life generated by the first cities.
The medieval German adage ‘City air makes you free’ expressed a customary law stipulating that one year of life in the city liberated rural serfs.
Simmel found the over-stimulation of city life produced a ‘blasĂ©’ personality type characteristic of the metropolis.
The book’s stress on voluntary clustering due to socioeconomic reasons, rather than enforced separation, still shapes how many Americans think about residential segregation in their cities today.
Of course, city life made many things more solid, petrified, built with concrete.
Much in the life and character of a city depends on when it was born, and by what kind of parents.
In the 20th-century US, inner cities were widely associated with poverty and decay, while moving to the suburbs meant a step up the social ladder.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Chau Down: A Portland Food Diary”

The first time I was made aware of Portland as a culinary destination was when Pok Pok, a Northern Thai restaurant founded by Andy Ricker, expanded from local anomaly to a national story of cultural obsession.
Several writing assignments brought me to Portland for the first time last month, and I jumped at the opportunity to examine, and potentially rebuke, my own preconceived notions about the city.
Earl Ninsom, a Thai restaurateur in Portland, has built a veritable empire in the city, and Langbaan is his flagship.
The restaurant started with Ninsom and Rassamee Ruaysuntia behind the counter-it was a triple distillation of a Thai experience miraculously found in Portland.
While holding true to its original format, Langbaan now scans more as an ode to Portland from a Thai perspective, and an appreciation of fine dining as a discipline.
He’d been something of a spiritual Portland food guide during my stay, a fount of Portland beer knowledge with a phenomenal story about the gendered dynamics of food preparation abroad that ends with him unintentionally eating goat shit in Greece.
Modern Times opened a Portland location about a week later, and when I visited in the afternoon, I had the place more or less all to myself.
The Afuris in Portland aim to be a sort of Japanese food emporium, offering everything from robata to sushi.

The orginal article.