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✊🏙 Christchurch terrorist attack, Trump’s austerity budget, Hudson Yards, San Francisco, McMansion Hell, climate strike, & more!

March 17 · Issue #77 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists,
My heart goes out to New Zealand, Christchurch, and its Muslim community. It shouldn’t have taken this long, but this attack needs to be a wake-up call to start taking the threat of far-right violence seriously.
First up is the terrorist attack in Christchurch, and I recommend clicking through to the Twitter thread about the victims, then there’s a look at how Trump’s austerity budget will hurt cities if passed and reactions to ultra-luxury Hudson Yards (plus a video of how rats have already moved in).
As always, a bunch of other reads at the end, including on the coming IPO millionaires who will further divide San Francisco, how Elon Musk tried to destroy the life of a whistleblower, lawns are terrible, and sea level rise will be worse than expected. Plus, don’t miss the video at the end: a parody Australien government ad on climate policy and the upcoming election.
Have a great week, all considered.

Christchurch comes together after terrorist attack
I’d be remiss not to start with the tragic attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday where 49 Muslim worshippers have been confirmed dead at the hands of a white-supremacist terrorist. I won’t detail the event, but you can read more on
The media, politicians, and social media companies need to reflect on how they’ve been legitimizing fascists and their hateful narratives, and aiding in the radicalization of even more people. They must change their practices to show the far-right for the hate-mongers they really are and cut off their access to platforms where they can spread their messages.
Khaled Beydoun
I don’t know the terrorist’s name. Nor do I care to know it.

Im keen on knowing the names, remembering the stories and celebrating the lives of the victims.

All 49. Please join me. #49lives
In the New York Times, Wajahat Ali detailed the growth of a global white-nationalist ideology and called out the politicians and media figures who fuel it. Eleanor Ainge Roy considered why this attack happened in Christchurch for the Guardian, but downplayed the presence of white nationalism in New Zealand. However, former race relations commissioner Susan Devoy wrote about the abuse faced by the Muslim community for The Spinoff, and David C. Atkinson addressed the U.S. role in inspiring white supremacism in Australia and New Zealand for the New Republic.
For most people, they probably remember Christchurch from the 2011 earthquake that devastated the city. The city commemorated the eighth anniversary of the earthquake last month, and people feel the recovery is finally turning a corner. Christchurch knows how to rebound, and surely it will do so again with stronger community bonds than before.
Osman Faruqi
I feel so sad. We begged you to stop amplifying and normalising hatred and racism. But you told us we were 'politically correct' and 'freedom of speech' was more important.

The more you gave the far-right a platform, the more powerful they got. We begged you.
Trump’s 2020 austerity budget
On Monday, Donald Trump delivered his 2020 budget to Congress with plans for a massive increase to military spending to be offset by a major austerity program.
Angie Schmitt at Streetsblog focused on transport. It calls for cuts of 39% to new transit funding, 23% to Amtrak, and increased spending on highways. Projects applying transit funding will need high local funding to be eligible.
Housing could be hit even worse. For Curbed, Jeff Andrews reported that HUD would be cut by 16.4%, the Public Housing Capital Fund would be eliminated, and the Public Housing Operating Fund would be cut by 38%. A number of housing block grants would also be cut.
There’s even more devastation detailed by Kriston Capps at CityLab, including cuts of more than $1 trillion to Medicare and Medicaid; more than 30%, or $219 billion, to the SNAP food stamp program; $10 billion to the Social Security Disability program; and 31% from the EPA’s budget — all to funnel money into the military and the wall.
Dan Ozzi
┃┃╱╲ In this
┃╱╱╲╲ house
╱╱╭╮╲╲ we rent
▔▏┗┛▕▔ an apartment
because boomers fucked
up the economy so bad
that owning property
is an unattainable fantasy
for our generation
╱╱┏┳┓╭╮┏┳┓ ╲╲
Hudson Yards is inequality on steroids
Hudson Yards, the new luxury development in New York City, opened to the public and many reviews were pretty scathing. The project came about at a time when cities were more willing to let the ultra-rich remake the urban environment for themselves, but that’s less often the case and it leaves Hudson Yards already looking like a symbol of a fading era.
Michael Kimmelman at the New York Times called the development out for the government incentives it received, the tax breaks given to companies that are relocating there, and how it has failed to present a coherent architectural vision, in comparison to Rockefeller Center.
Hudson Yards glorifies a kind of surface spectacle — as if the peak ambitions of city life were consuming luxury goods and enjoying a smooth, seductive, mindless materialism.
It gives physical form to a crisis of city leadership, asleep at the wheel through two administrations, and to a pernicious theory of civic welfare that presumes private development is New York’s primary goal, the truest measure of urban vitality and health, with money the city’s only real currency.
Hamilton Nolan took a different approach in the Guardian, calling Hudson Yards “an ultracapitalist equivalent of the Forbidden City, a Chichen Itza with a better mall and slightly better-concealed human sacrifice.” He skewered Stephen Ross, the billionaire behind the development, for adding to the luxury towers in the city instead of actually addressing its needs, and went through how utterly terrible every aspect of it really is.
It is always a little sad to see what the people rich enough to have everything actually want. They do not want to participate in the world at all; they want to build their own simulacrum of it and float away forever, secure in the knowledge that none of the lesser people or things that populate the earth will ever be allowed to intrude. This is the promise of Hudson Yards – the same as the promise of the Titanic. So lie back and enjoy it, my friends. The good life always lasts forever.
Zooming out a bit, Samuel Stein, author of Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State, writes in Jacobin about the processes which allow developers to dominate urban planning through the “real estate state,” noting NYC’s planning commission is dominated by people in real estate.
If manufacturers no longer make up a powerful capitalist constituency for lower central city land and housing costs, planners managing “the property contradiction” are really only hearing from real estate capitalists and those aligned with their growth agenda, who are calling for policies that push land and property values ever-upward.
Jeff Coltin
Hudson Yards has blended seamlessly into the city:
Around the world
💰 Think San Francisco is an unequal hellscape now? Wait until the coming IPOs mint thousands of new millionaires who will eat the city alive.
Bikes and scooters
🚲 E-bikes made up 40% of the million bicycles sold in the Netherlands
🛴 Bird and Lime created competition between juicers, but that’s also come with threats of violence
📱 Surveillance concerns over Los Angeles’ Mobility Data Specification
🇮🇩 Illustrated: How to survive cycling in Jakarta, Indonesia
Trains and transit
🇦🇺 Australian Labor politician says it’s time to “bite the bullet” and build high-speed rail; Greens also want it fast tracked. But a write-up at the ABC ignores environmental and transport benefits as it obsesses over cost.
🚌 FlixBus bought Eurolines, increasing its share of long-distance bus trips
💵 What’s a fair transit fare? Maybe they should be tied to income.
🚇 How much does it cost to make metro stations accessible?
Taras Grescoe
"It's unfair to have cities where parking is free for cars and housing is expensive for people."
— @DonaldShoup
Cars and roads
☠️ In the U.S., 17 pedestrians die every day after being hit by cars. Greg Shill details all the ways the legal system favors drivers.
😡 After a whistleblower told Business Insider about the waste and safety issues at Tesla’s Gigafactory, Elon Musk set out to destroy him. He moved to Hungary, scared for his life, but is helping build a case against Musk.
👋 The latest thing millennials are killing? Cars, and good riddance.
🤔 NYC: Want to know which other buildings your landlord owns? This tool might help.
👎 McMansion Hell took a look at the ugly mansions of the celebrities charged in the college admissions’ scandal
Lawns “displace native ecosystems … in favor of sterile, chemically-filled, artificial environments bloated with a tremendous European influence that provide no benefits over the long term.”
🇬🇧 Is the housing crisis really a problem of supply? In England, the number of long-term vacant properties is up 5.3% to 216,186. There isn’t a shortage, but an unfair distribution in a financialized economy.
💶 Meanwhile, Barcelona is fining long-term vacant properties
In London’s co-living spaces, “the ‘co’ prefix is a misnomer: these are spaces for living selfishly.”
Angie Schmitt
Private beaches are like yards = bad. We could pool our money/land have truly beautiful parks/beaches. (And preserve land/shore for nature)

But then rich people would have to rub elbows with others! So instead everyone has to OWN their own mediocre beach/plot of land.
Climate change
✊ On Friday, students around the world went on strike to demand climate action. Read about the climate strike and see photos from around the world.
🌊 USGS says California sea level rise could be more devastating than the worst earthquakes and wildfires when storms are considered
🇮🇸 Iceland’s melting glaciers are causing land to rise and could lead to more volcanic eruptions
📈 3-5ºC of warming is locked in for the Arctic even if Paris targets met
Around the world
🗺 Residents of Fruit Belt, Buffalo were furious when they saw Google renamed their community “Medical Park.” It was corrected in February.
🌏 New Global South cities promise a smart, green future, but what are they really delivering? CBC’s Michelle Gagnon on research by Dr. Sarah Moser.
💉 The anti-vaccine movement is turning cities into hotspots of disease
🎥 Cinemas across Africa are shuttering — some are turned into churches — as people turn to cheap video clubs or pirated movies on their phones
Honest Government Ad | Climate Breakdown
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading. You can follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
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