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 new weekly feature, Senior Editor Ryan Holeywell highlights the week’s most interesting articles from around the web about urban policy and city life.
As cities face budgetary hurdles, some are taking an unorthodox step: ripping up asphalt roads and replacing them with gravel, Wired reports. The trend comes as the costs of asphalt, concrete and cement continue to rise even as some cities are still only barely recovering from the Great Recession. In Vermont, one town says it’s saved nearly 10% of its road budget by un-paving.
A proposal from Nashville’s mayor would offer financial incentives to developers who build affordable and workhouse housing, the Tennessean reports. The $2 million plan comes as affordable housing emerges as a top issue in the city’s central neighborhoods, which are quickly gentrifying. The city’s approach is seen as an alternative strategy to affordable housing mandates, which are banned in Tennessee.
Near a light-rail station on L.A.’s new Expo Line, developers hope to build a 30-story office tower with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and downtown. While some in South Los Angeles see the project as a sign that their community has “made it,” others fear the upscale project is a sign that rents are about to soar to unaffordable levels. Now, residents and advocates have filed a lawsuit to try to kill the development, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has been a frequent figure in the public eye since the shooting of 12 of the city’s police officers last week. But in Baton Rouge, where unrest continues to ferment following the shooting death of Alton Sterling, Mayor Kip Holden has been conspicuously absent from the spotlight. “Why should I put my hand in a hornet’s nest?” he reportedly said when asked why he hasn’t met with protesters or other civic leaders. City Lab explores the two mayors’ different responses to their cities’ tragedies.
A systematic analysis of “State of the City” speeches by 100 mayors shows they focused their comments on economic concerns more than any other issue, Governing magazine reports. Housing also garnered significantly more comments than it’s received in previous years, with more than a third of the mayors in the study discussing their efforts to promote affordable housing. The study also shows that small cities are increasingly discussing energy and environment issues, and in particular, they’re highlighting their work fighting climate change.
Top image: Construction work begins on Cherry Street in Dignowity Hill. Photo by Scott Ball.