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What We’re Following
Rocky road: On Thursday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey released a framework for the “Green New Deal,” aiming to eliminate U.S. carbon emissions by 2030 and create millions of jobs in the process. One key goal is the summation of every eco-conscious urbanist’s dream: overhauling the country’s transportation system to phase out the internal combustion engine. But for Americans living in poverty—who can rely on cars for their livelihood, or go car-free only out of necessity—the costs and benefits of doing that aren’t so simple.
A new study finds that, over the past 50 years, owning a car has been among the most powerful economic advantages available to U.S. families. While that doesn’t mean everyone should start driving, it does lead the study’s authors to a policy prescription in cities built around the automobile: Treat vehicles like essential infrastructure, and subsidize them for low-income households. “We don’t want to try to balance our carbon emissions and budgets on the backs of the poor,” one researcher tells CityLab’s Laura Bliss. “All of these goals can be achieved if overall we drive less, even if we help some people drive more.” Read her story: As the Planet Warms, Who Should Get to Drive?
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Deal or No Deal
The Green New Deal has inspired no shortage of moonshot ideas, from switching to 100-percent clean and renewable energy to overhauling every building and expanding high-speed rail to compete with air travel. Political imaginations are running wild based on what is and isn’t covered in the plan. Here’s a sampling of the urbanist wondering going on out there:
Is the Green New Deal…
… a serious fix for the infrastructure gap? (Curbed)
… ignoring the consequences of where we live? (Slate)
… an ambitious transportation overhaul? (Streetsblog)
… picking some fights and avoiding others? (Vox)
… already taking shape at the state level? (New York Times)
What We’re Reading
Amazon might be reconsidering putting HQ2 in Queens (Washington Post)
Google Fiber is leaving Louisville because of infrastructure issues (Business Insider)
How Charlotte, North Carolina, became the banking hub of the American South (Quartz)
The cities transformed by artificial lakes (The Guardian)
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