National Links: Helsinki the Leader

July 27, 2018

Each week we write a piece with the most interesting articles of the week for Greater Greater Washington and syndicate it to Urban Milwaukee and  We take the most clicked posts of the week from The Overhead Wire daily and write about the most interesting ones.  Follow beyond the crease to read up on some of this week’s most interesting pieces.

Helsinki is the center of transportation’s future: Helsinki, Finland is the first city in the world to offer mobility as a service, namely through a subscription app called Whim that allows users to get around by bike, bus, train, taxi or borrowed car. The companies that offer subscriptions see the value of trying it out in Helsinki because of its size and nature, but it needs a lot more subscribers to be sustainable. (Kati Pohjanpolo | Bloomberg)

Redesigning the “For Sale” sign: For the first time in 50 years, the residential real estate sign has been redesigned. The purpose? To bring them into the digital age so that much more information can be obtained than on a simple sign. (Ainsley Harris | Fast Company)

The myth of street balance: Have you ever been in a public meeting about transportation improvements and been told that “balance needs to be maintained” on roads? Often the suggestion to “maintain balance” means to cater to cars and not take existing space from them. John Riecke goes deeper into how “balancing” the streets in the current way have unbalanced our neighborhoods. (John Riecke | Streetsblog Denver)

Don’t call them parks: Over the last 10 years, New York City has reorganized its landscape of streets. Now 74 pedestrian plazas have taken back 30 acres of space from automobiles, and data shows that they’ve been a safety success. As the idea is replicated around the world, there’s hope that cities can be places for people. (James Barron | New York Times)

Housing and rent are becoming political: As rents go up and ordinary Americans are hit hard, politicians are starting to think of the ways to provide relief. Some are calling for vacancy decontrol and expanding rent stabilization. In California, voters will decide on rent control laws for the whole state. As arguments for and against rent control continue unabated by economists, rents continue to rise. (Sarah Jones | New Republic)

Quote of the Week

“Yet growing up in that environment impressed upon me that pretty much everything can be made and fixed by regular people. It helped me appreciate how the world hangs together — how a building stands up, how electricity gets to the outlet, how water gets in the kitchen sink and out of a flooded basement.”

Shannon Mattern discusses growing up in and around the hardware store. (Places Journal)

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