1. Turns out the more we personify our cars on a day-to-day basis, the more likely we are to dread saying goodbye. In a 2010 study, researchers at the University of Michigan asked one group of participants to describe their cars in technical terms (such as “unresponsive” or “versatile”) and other participants to describe their cars in personality terms (such as “enthusiastic” or “quarrelsome”). Afterwards, both groups were asked about their willingness to replace their cars. Those in the personality group were far less keen to do so than those in the technical group, and were also much less likely to take into account the quality and functionality of the car in context of replacing it. 

    So even when our cars are in crappy shape, the emotional attachment we have to it can trump material demands, encouraging us to overspend in maintaining it or preventing us from selling the thing when it’s time.

    -It’s Just Not That Easy to Get Rid of Your Car

    [Chart:  Journal of Consumer Psychology]


  3. one might conclude based on this data that it’s the smartphone, more than any particular transportation service, that’s greatly disrupting city mobility. (That goes for transit riders using real-time apps, too.) The question then becomes: Why haven’t official taxi companies (if not cities themselves) invested more time and energy into developing smartphone-based services?

    -Uber Has an Enormous Wait Time Advantage Over Regular Taxis


  4. "There’s something sinister about being near the water. It’s an end-of-days feeling, the grim reality that, because of climate change, these places are going to be very different in 30 to 50 years."

  6. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is mounting the best defense of the Astrodome since Vernon Perry picked off four passes and blocked a field goal in a playoff game against the Chargers back in 1979.

    It’s been a long time since the Houston Oilers or any other team called the Astrodome home, and voters rejected a bond measure to adapt and reuse this domed cathedral last year. But Emmett’s not giving it up. Yesterday, he led the press on a tour of the Astrodome to introduce his own plan to restore it: By creating the world’s largest indoor park. 

    -The Astrodome: The World’s Largest Indoor Garden?

    [Photo: Pat Sullivan/AP]

  7. Millions of Americans live and work in or near these sprawling freight nodes. They may be unloved—the urbanist Roger Keil describes them as metabolic, in that they facilitate American consumption—but they are necessary places in the global economy. If Memphis can improve the quality of life for the 136,000 people who live around its airport, even just a little, other U.S. airports that focus on logistics may follow its lead.

    -The Memphis Airport Is on a Mission to Become Its Own City

    [Rendering: City of Memphis / Looney Ricks Kiss / AECOM / Bounds & Gillespie Architects, PLLC]


  8. "What the protestors really want is a “different model for Barcelona tourism” that prioritizes residents’ needs over grabbing tourist cash and offers more than a low-cost race to the bottom."
  9. College-educated minorities report far fewer good-paying job opportunities than whites.


  10. "The researchers envision an underwater trip from Shanghai to San Francisco that would last about 100 minutes, where the supercavitational air bubble encloses not just the propellers (as with Ghost) but the entire vessel."

  12. Dispatches from Saturday’s 'We Will Not Go Back' march in NYC.

  13. If “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” were written today, bike-share stations would play the role of the porridge. A station that’s too full is a bad thing, because that means riders can’t return a bike there. A station that’s too empty is also a bad thing, because that means potential riders can’t rent from there. To keep members happy, you need to get the number of bikes at a station just right.

    Operators know this as the "rebalancing" problem, and it’s not nearly as easy to resolve as it might seem. On the contrary, some of the world’s top mathematicians and computer scientists are addressing the challenge right now. In this week’s issue of Science, Vienna correspondent Chelsea Wald reports that as many as 30 researchers are devoting serious time to rebalancing—some in collaboration with bike-share operators in major cities.

    The goal of this research is to derive algorithms directing the vans and trucks that bike-share operators use to shuffle bikes from station to station within a city. Trouble is, rebalancing is a moving target with several layers of complexity. You not only need to predict how many bikes a station will need at a certain time, but you need to minimize the (costly and time-consuming) movement of these vans and trucks—and you need to do it all while the system is in use.

    -Balancing Bike-Share Stations Has Become a Serious Scientific Endeavor

    [Graphic: Rainer-Harbach et al (2014)]

  14. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, living in San Francisco isn’t just unreasonable, it’s basically impossible. This report lists San Francisco as the most expensive rental jurisdiction in the nation. “San Francisco’s minimum wage is nearly $3 more than the federal minimum wage, yet it is three-and-a-half times less than what is needed to afford a decent two-bedroom unit in this expensive jurisdiction”—or $37.62 an hour. Or, $78,250 a year. Either way: Time to blockade a Google bus.

    But the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is asking people to rethink the way they think about housing affordability. Living in San Francisco, New York, or Washington, D.C., isn’t so bad when you think about in terms of location affordability.

    Location affordability (and the Location Affordability Index) factors for a number of transportation costs: automobiles per household, annual vehicle miles traveled, transit expenditures, and so on. Follow this simple chart and you’re on your way to an index of affordability that accounts for a neighborhood’s walkability—or, conversely, the long commutes that residents register to and from work every day.

    Using this index, the Citizens Budget Commission of New York put together a report to show that not only is location affordability pretty reasonable in San Francisco, by the same measure New York is a damn good deal. In fact, factoring for location affordability shows that Washington, New York, and San Francisco are the three best deals for any large metro in the nation.

    -What Does It Really Cost to Live in San Francisco?

    [Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters]

  15. nextcityorg:

    Former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening spoke with us about the Purple Line proposal. 

    “You can’t take a project like this, move it ahead, and stop it for four years, then say we’ll pick it up later.”