1. "There are a bundle of cynical reasons why Congress has struggled to craft a reasonable long-term transportation plan in recent years, but there’s also a pretty valid one that doesn’t get enough attention: The United States lacks a national infrastructure agenda."

  2. "Compared to those living in stand-alone houses, high-rise residents felt more susceptible to crime while walking through their neighborhoods in the evening. But once they were inside, high-risers felt up to three times safer than their counterparts who lived in houses."
  3. There’s the “Ratatouille effect.” Public perceptions of Parisian rats have become softened thanks to Disney’s animated portrayal of their culinary skills.

    -Visit Paris, Which Is Now Infested by Rats Tourists Seem to Love


  5. Studies have proven the environmental gains that come with infill development on brownfield sites. And there’s all kinds of examples that show all the uses to which brownfield sites can be put: transit centersparks, even new factories. Until now, though, there’s never been a measure for the actual value of brownfield remediation nationwide. Is the government getting its money’s worth?  

    According to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the answer is yessir. Neighborhoods near brownfield cleanup sites, the study shows, enjoy a rise in housing values that can be dramatic.

    -How Much Cleaning Up Brownfields Is Really Worth

    [Photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters]

  6. "A race against time" to capture a rapidly changing San Francisco.

    [Photos: Troy Holden]

  7. The program was designed to invite immigrants and capital into distressed American urban centers where they otherwise might not flow. As a new report by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) shows, cities and foreign investors alike have largely overlooked the program. While that’s starting to change, there are significant barriers to seeing this tool used to its full potential.  

    Here’s how it works: A foreign investor looking for permanent resident status under the EB-5 program needs to invest at least $1 million in a development project—or $500,000, if that investment is targeted in a rural area or a place with a high unemployment rate (150 percent of the national average). The investor has no guarantee on the investment if the project fails, but so long as it creates 10 full-time jobs, the investor and the investor’s immediate family can receive conditional permanent resident status. (The condition falls away after two years.)  

    Since 1990, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved more than 16,000 applications for permanent resident status under the EB-5 program. Almost one-quarter of those visas were approved in 2012, with the number of approvals climbing in recent years in the wake of the financial collapse and credit crunch, according to the report.

    -America’s Booming Pay-to-Stay Visa Program Still Has Tons of Room to Grow

  8. Rising sea levels have kicked up flood days by as much as 900 percent along parts of the East Coast.


  11. Total debt is trending higher in denser, larger, more knowledge-based metros where incomes are greater and housing costs are among the priciest in the nation. But it’s smaller, less affluent, more blue-collar metros that face the highest levels of financial distress. 

    -The New Geography of U.S. Consumer Debt

  12. If an electric bike is ever going to hit it big in the U.S., it’s this one.

  13. Rozhkovsky also felt there was a dearth of Ukrainian sources in English-language reporting on the crisis. Most information was being relayed by Russian outlets, he said, so a more balanced approach was needed. Toward that end, the algorithms that populate the map use both Ukranian and Russian sources (again, mostly Twitter, but also local news and Facebook posts), and then translate them into English.

    LiveUAMap also looks for at least two independent sources in order to verify an event actually happened—though there have been errors. When MH-17 was shot down on July 17, the site initially reported it as a different plane. It corrected the mistake almost immediately. Still, LiveUAMap labeled the event in red, signifying it as an act of pro-Russian rebels, a conclusion for which there still hasn’t been strong evidence.

    -Citizen Journalists Are Live-Mapping the Crisis in Ukraine

  14. In larger cities with dense cores like D.C., bike-share may replace shorter transit trips; in smaller, more dispersed cities like Minneapolis, it may expand the entire public transport network.

    -The Most Persuasive Evidence Yet that Bike-Share Serves as Public Transit

  15. transitmaps:

    Historical Map: Unpublished Proof of H.C. Beck’s London Underground Diagram, 1932

    A printer’s proof of the first card folder (pocket) edition of Beck’s famous diagram, with edits and corrections marked in his own hand.

    Of note is the use of quite ugly and overpowering “blobs” instead of the now-ubiquitous “ticks” for station markers, and the fact that the map has been entirely hand-lettered by Beck, using what he called “Johnston-style” characters. He’s cheated quite a bit with his letterforms and spacing on some of the longer station names.

    The Piccadilly line is also shown in what seems to us a very odd light blue, although Beck was simply following established colour conventions from earlier geographical maps. The now-familiar dark blue was in place by the time the diagram was officially released in January of 1933.

    Source: Scanned from my personal copy of “Mr. Beck’s Underground Map" by Ken Garland