Weekly Roundup: How Parking Became One of Urban Planners' Biggest Enemies


More than 30 percent of the area in many downtown cores is taken up by parked vehicles. Today, many planners are hellbent on doing something about it.

Parking lot in Las Vegas

More than 30 percent of the area in many downtown cores is taken up by parked vehicles. Today, many planners are hellbent on doing something about it.

While the Urban Edge strives to provide readers with daily news and insights about urban policy, we’re also voracious readers of city news ourselves. As part of a weekly feature, Senior Editor Ryan Holeywell highlights the week’s most interesting articles from around the web about urban policy and city life.

Urban Planners’ New Enemy

Image via flickr/Ken Lund. Image via flickr/Ken Lund.

A few decades ago, Governing writes, nobody seemed to care that a sizable chunk of many U.S. downtowns was taken up by parking. Today, cities are eager to use that land for retail, condos and offices -- and increasingly they see parking as a waste of space. Now, cities are experimenting with innovative ways to manage the demand for parking, such as dynamic parking prices; developer fees in lieu of parking; and cash payouts to workers who eschew parking subsidies.

The Limits of Data-Driven Approaches to Planning

Image via flickr/Matthew Musgrove. Image via flickr/Matthew Musgrove.

At the Kinder Institute, we love data. But, as City Observatory writes, data can't always tell us everything -- and it uses Houston as an example. The urban blog cites a slew of essays by Houstonians about their struggles simply trying to walk around the fourth-large city in America. They're important narratives. But from a data standpoint, it's not a problem. "Because we lack the conventional metrics to define and measure, for example, the hardships of walking, we don’t design and enforce solutions or adopt targeted public policies," City Observatory writes, imploring planners not to rely on data so much they miss broader issues.

Will Immigrants Today Assimilate Like Those of 100 Years Ago?

Image via flickr/Stephen Wolfe Image via flickr/Stephen Wolfe

When immigrants from Europe poured into the U.S. a century ago, they lived apart from native-born Americans, often in ghettos. Within a few generations though, many built wealth. Now, researchers are hoping to figure out whether the current wave of immigrants from Asia and Latin America will follow the same pattern. So far, their findings suggest today's batch of immigrants might not have the same opportunities. Only white immigrants have a median net worth of more than $500, according to research cited by City Lab, and about 80 percent of all immigrants have virtually no wealth.

The Los Angeles Mystery

Image via flickr/Doc Searls. Image via flickr/Doc Searls.

The City of Angels offers a bit of a paradox for those interested in planning and transportation issues. Somehow, simultaneously, it is both extremely dense and extremely car-dependent. In few other place do those two attributes go hand-in-hand. Planetizen explores the phenomenon.

Metro Nashville Recommends $6 Billion Transit Plan for Region

Image via Thomas Hawk Image via Thomas Hawk

A new proposal from Nashville's transit agency includes plans for new commuter rail, light rail and bus rapid transit lines -- among other proposals -- that would total nearly $6 billion over the next 25 years, the Tennessean reports. The report comes on the heels of a year-and-a-half long process of soliciting community feedback. "We know baby steps aren’t going to get the job done," Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said.
Ryan Holeywell


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