Hollow bookends that contain dioramae of Tokyo's narrow alleyways

Tokyo artist Monde created a set of bookends for last week's Tokyo Design Festa that are tall, narrow dioramae containing detailed miniatures of the narrow laneways of Tokyo, with street furniture, signage and cobblestones; alas, these don't appear to be production items (and would need some kind of weight or underbook tongues to serve as effective bookends), but they're lovely to look at! Read the rest

Realtor claims Uber and Lyft erode the premium homebuyers pay for good public transit links

Leonard Steinberg, a longstanding New York City luxury property broker, claims that the existence of Uber and Lyft has blunted the premium that buyers were willing to pay to live in neighborhoods with good transit links, because they can afford rideshare cars and use the commute time to work, meaning that commutes are less of a factor in calculating the quality of life (because your day starts when you get into the car, not when you get to your desk). Read the rest

US housing prices skyrocket for homeowners and renters alike

Since the crash of 2008, both home ownership and renting have been getting steadily more expensive, with median house prices rising to levels surpassing pre-crisis levels, while the ballooning private equity megalandlords pushed prices for renters to never-seen levels, using an eviction mill that saw more Americans thrown out of their homes than at any time in history to keep renters paying. Read the rest

Oakland passes groundbreaking municipal law requiring citizen oversight of local surveillance

Oakland, California -- a city across the bay from San Francisco whose large African-American population has struggled with gentrification and police violence for decades -- has a long reputation for police corruption and surveillance. Read the rest

100 US Mayors sign a pledge to boycott ISPs that commit Net Neutrality violations

As states pass a wave of laws barred non-neutral ISPs from providing services to state agencies, more than 100 US mayors have pledged to disqualify non-neutral ISPs from getting city contracts as well. Read the rest

China escalates the war on jaywalkers with automated shouting laser/squirtguns tied to motion-sensors

Chinese authorities hate jaywalkers and they've decided to use technology to end the practice; in Shenzhen, jaywalkers are identified with facial recognition and sent threatening texts while their faces are displayed on oversized nearby LED screens; in Daye, Hubei province, shouting robotic squirt-guns target and soak anyone who attempts to walk into an intersection against the lights. Read the rest

Eviction Lab: a comprehensive database of every eviction proceeding in America for the past 16 years

The Eviction Lab is a collaboration between Princeton University and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Paperback; the lab's team gathered the court records of ever landlord-tenant proceeding in every court in every county in America for the past 16 years. Read the rest

Cities' emergency sirens will play anything you send them over an unencrypted radio protocol

It's been a year since someone hacked all 156 of Dallas's emergency tornado sirens, setting them off in the middle of the night, and the security picture for cities' emergency PA systems keeps getting uglier. Read the rest

Credit bubble a-burstin': wave of bankruptcies sweeps subprime car-lenders

The subprime car-lending industry -- charging exorbitant rates for car-loans to people least suited to afford them, enforced through orwellian technologies, obscuring the risk by spinning the debt into high-risk/high-yield bonds -- is collapsing. Read the rest

To solve America's housing crisis, build public housing

You know what works better than giving tax-credits to property developers, or mandating a few poor-door accessible affordable housing units in a new luxury high rise? Just building affordable housing on public land that's publicly managed. Read the rest

Waze has turned the nearly undriveable, fifth-steepest hill in America into a disaster-strewn major thoroughfare

Baxter Street in Echo Park, East Los Angeles, is the fifth-steepest hill in America; it's so steep that inexperienced drivers struggle with it, spinning out and crashing, especially in the rain. Read the rest

Kickstarting a public radio-backed revival of Gothamist, a beloved site killed by an evil, union-hating Trumpist billionaire

Gothamist voted to unionize in late 2017; immediately thereafter, its new owner, the evil, Trump-supporting billionaire Joe Ricketts killed it and all its sister publications in a fit of petty revenge against the uppity laborers in word-mines; but then, in February, a consortium of public radio stations announced plans to revive the beloved site, backed by an anonymous donor and the sites' original founders. Read the rest

Chinese jaywalkers are identified and shamed by facial recognition, and now they'll get warnings over text message

Last April, the industrial capital of Shenzhen installed anti-jaywalking cameras that use facial recognition to automatically identify people crossing without a green pedestrian light; jaywalkers are shamed on a public website and their photos are displayed on large screens at the intersection, Read the rest

To save the Earth, stack humans in green cities and leave the wilderness for other animals

Science fiction writer and ecologist Kim Stanley Robinson (previously) writes that we need to "empty half the Earth of its humans" to save the planet -- but not by the Green Left's usual (and potentially genocidal) tactic of reducing our population by 50%. Read the rest

Marx's birthplace celebrates his bicentennial with Communist traffic-lights

Karl Marx was born in the German city of Trier 200 years ago and lived there until he was 17; to celebrate his bicentennial, the city has installed a Marx-themed pedestrian signal light designed by Johannes Kolz, with another to come. Read the rest

Machine-learning-based image classifier can tell when the bus and bike-lanes are illegally obstructed

New York's cyclists and bus-riders are certain they're being slowed and endangered by an epidemic of illegal lane-obstructions from delivery vehicles, taxis and Ubers, but policymakers have refused to do anything about it, saying that the evidence is all anaecdotal. Read the rest

GPS routing increases city throughput by shifting traffic jams onto residential streets

A trio of engineering researchers from UC Berkeley modeled the effect of heavy reliance on GPS routing on municipal road efficiencies and found that people who are GPS-routed are likely to move to surface streets and secondary highways when the main highways are congested; though this increases overall throughput in a city and reduces overall drive-time, it also creates heavy traffic on residential streets, effectively transferring traffic jams from highways to neighborhoods. Read the rest

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