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✊🏙 NYC caps Uber & Lyft vehicles 🛑 Richard Florida's bad take on “over-tourism” ✈️ & much more!

Hey urbanists, and a special welcome to all the new subscribers who've signed up in the past week. Th
August 12 · Issue #46 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists, and a special welcome to all the new subscribers who’ve signed up in the past week.
The last issue was a bit different from what I usually do with this newsletter, but I wanted place the focus on climate change and how recent events are making me increasingly concerned about whether we can reduce emissions in time to avoid major (and very distressing) changes to our climate. I’m sure it’s something you’re all thinking about, as well.
This week, we’re back to the usual format, looking at NYC’s new ride-share regulations and the backlash against tourism that seems to continue to expand to even more cities as they’re pushed to their limits.
Have a great Sunday!

NYC caps Uber, Lyft vehicles
Huge news out of New York City this week as the city passed tough new regulations on ride-hailing services aiming to cut congestion and increase driver pay. The regulations include the following:
  • NYC will not issue any new for-hire vehicle licenses for 12 months as it studies the impacts of the services.
  • Ride-hailing companies will have to follow stricter data-reporting requirements, informing on trip and pay info.
  • A wage floor will be instituted to ensure ride-hail drivers are paid the $15 minimum wage, after expenses are subtracted.
Uber and Lyft are, predictably, warning that this will results in higher prices for users and limited coverage of the city, but given the growing body of research showing how they’re making congestion worse and not fairly paying drivers, these new regulations were necessary. It will now be fascinating to watch whether other cities follow NYC’s example and what researchers find in the aftermath of implementation.
Backlash against tourism continues
Richard Florida’s latest in CityLab about the growing global backlash to “over-tourism” quickly goes through a long list of cities and what they’re doing to restrict the impact of tourism as the number of tourists continues to soar.
Florida argues that “scapegoating” tourism isn’t the solution, but recognizing that this is all part of what he’s called the “new urban crisis,” meaning that “[r]estricting the number of tourists or tourism-related activities will do little to solve the root problem of inequality.” While there is some truth to this, it’s wrong to write off tourism as a factor making inequality more difficult to address, particularly in major tourist hotspots.
Telling Amsterdam or Barcelona that tourism isn’t really a problem is pretty ignorant, given how the centres of many of these major destinations are being hollowed out and serving tourists before residents. Yes, there needs to be more affordable housing and transit, but just as there are spatial limits to the number of vehicles that can fit on streets, there are also limits to the number of people which can be crammed into areas of cities.
Florida also mentions Venice and Dubrovnik, yet still writes off all criticism of tourism as misguided, when rather it’s his self-serving method of putting the promotion of his books and ideas first, as he did with the “creative class,” that’s incorrect.
This week the Guardian published a piece by Dutch novelist Joost de Vries about how tourism is changing Amsterdam. He says that “Venice” is shorthand for this change, and that the city is becoming “un-created” by uncontrolled mass tourism.
Riding my bike, I don’t feel Amsterdam is being taken over by tourists: I simply don’t feel I’m in Amsterdam at all.
(See issue 40 for more,)
Other great reads
📉 In major US cities, rents are dropping for the rich, but keep soaring for the poor. Thanks YIMBYs!
🔥 Human decisions make California’s wildfires far worse and more deadly
🇪🇬 Urban redevelopment of Cairo being undertaken at the direction of its new strongman is destroying the city’s heritage
🇲🇽 High-speed rail between Mexico City and Querétaro may be back on the drawing board after election of left-wing president
📷 Project aims to document and preserve eastern Europe’s deteriorating brutalist buildings
🚲 Ofo, a major dockless bike company, is leaving most US cities
📄 Proposed US rent relief bills would provide tax credit for renters, but doesn’t provide funding for public housing expansion
New Streetfilm looks at Barcelona's superblocks
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
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