- Why Vision Zero is the wrong goal for improving street safety in New York, where twice as many cyclist fatalities have already occurred this year than in all of 2018. A convincing argument that the city's approach is too reactive, and thus fails to produce the infrastructure needed to ensure cyclist safety. A positive vision like Utrecht's "We All Cycle" would be more effective.
- Shade as an urban design issue. An in-depth examination of the uneven distribution of shade in Los Angeles, why it's so important, and the challenges that surround efforts to add new shade infrastructure such as street trees.
- The recent growth of helicopter travel in the New York region, and the increasing ability of the affluent to simply opt out of public problems like traffic by using their own parallel channels.
- Nicola Twilley on California's megafires and how prescribed burns could minimize their damage. Meanwhile, insurers are increasingly refusing to cover homes in fire-prone areas.
- The internet is drowning. How rising sea levels threaten to submerge a significant portion of the internet's physical infrastructure, much of which was deployed in coastal locations. A climate risk modeler offers this sobering line: "We live in a world designed for an environment that no longer exists."
- New York's recent blackouts and how the fragility of the city's electrical grid, along with other infrastructural problems, is a product of deregulation and financialization. "What these new blackouts reflect is two things. First, they show the stresses that climate change is putting on our society. Sandy in 2012 and the heat waves in July pressured the electric grid. Second, they reflect how the short-term financialized mentality that is now pervasive among American policymakers and corporate leaders weakened the grid” (from Matt Stoller's excellent newsletter).
- The rich history of brutalist architecture in tropical climates: "Buildings that looked cold and imposing against London's constant drizzle or Boston's icy slush were transformed into fecund, vital spaces."
- Michael Sorkin on New York's current building boom (from 2016): "Our urbanism, for better or worse, is exactly one of negotiation, the architecture of the deal, and the deal is always between public and private interests. While this is right and proper, the question is always who holds the strongest cards."
Distribution & Logistics.
- How Amazon and Ring collaborated with a local police department in Colorado on a sting operation to catch package thieves. None of the dummy packages were actually stolen, but stories like this demonstrate the surprisingly eager embrace of surveillance technology by its end users in the service of goals like neighborhood security. As discussed above, these technologies have negative externalities borne by the public, reallocating taxpayer-funded law enforcement resources toward private objectives. See also: Ring is hiring an on-camera host, for some reason.
- GrubHub has registered thousands of web domains that correlate with the names of real restaurants, and has set up "shadow" websites that appear to belong to those restaurants but instead only redirect to GrubHub itself.
- A bar owner in the UK built a Faraday cage around the space's walls and ceiling to prevent people from using their phones while inside. "Rather than asking them not to use their phones, I stopped the phones from working."
- How chicken wire is made.
- Ugly Gerry is a font made out of gerrymandered congressional districts.