“Words on the Street” highlights the best New Urbs content we’ve encountered this week:
Forget the White Picket Fence, the American Dream Is in the City | Vikram Mansharamani, PBS
The dominant housing story of the last century was an exodus of those with means from cities to suburbs. The American Dream consisted of a white picket fence around a private yard, 2.4 children in the home and a nice car or two. Today, the dream is changing. Sure, the suburbs still offer a great deal, but there’s a powerful countertrend that is increasingly hard to ignore: a renaissance in cities, as they draw empty nesters and young professionals alike to a vibrant, urban lifestyle.
AirBnb and the Battle of Suitcase Alley | Ginia Bellafante, New York Times
On June 17, the State Legislature passed what would become one of the most stringent home-sharing laws in the country, if not the world, should Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo approve it. The measure would forbid not only landlords, but also tenants, to list apartments for short-term rental on Airbnb and similar sites, and would impose fines of up to $7,500 on those who flout it. It is already illegal in New York to rent out an unoccupied apartment in a building with three or more units for fewer than 30 days, but Airbnb is full of advertisements for such places regardless; about 55 percent of Airbnb listings violate the law, according to housing activists.
Building a Better Tech Boom | Patrick Sisson, Curbed
In a city that is already facing rapid gentrification and some of the fastest growing real estate prices in the country (Zillow says all the hottest neighborhoods in the Bay Area are in Oakland), the Uber move makes many nervous that the city’s diverse, working class roots will be further diluted by tech bros and rapidly rising real estate prices (the city, the birthplace of the Black Panthers and home to generations of black celebrities and leaders, lost a quarter of its African American residents between 2000 and 2010).
Can You Tackle Poverty Without Taking On Place? | Solomon Greene, Urban Institute
Earlier this month, House Republicans released a new plan to fight poverty and help Americans move up the economic ladder. The plan begins and ends with the premise that “The American Dream is the idea that, no matter who you are or where you come from, if you work hard and give it your all, you will succeed.” In between, however, there is scant mention of the role that place (i.e., where you come from) plays in perpetuating poverty or shaping economic opportunity.
The Bike Collision Law That Scares Cyclists | Eillie Anzilotti, CityLab
[M]ost states abide by a policy of “comparative fault” in the event of a crash. This standard holds that if a cyclist or pedestrian can claim less than 50 percent of responsibility for a dust-up, they’re entitled to either a full insurance payment, or one commensurate with their level of negligence as determined by a jury. The point is, they’re guaranteed some compensation.
But in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Washington, D.C., that is not the case. That’s because in those locales, the standard of contributory negligence has not been written out of the books, like it has been in the rest of the United States. Broadly applied, contributory negligence maintains that if the harmed party is deemed more than 1 percent responsible for an accident or injury, they cannot claim any recovery payment.