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✊🏙 Uber S-1 reveals new details; Barcelona’s superblocks; Canada warming 2x global average; Hudson Yards; Toronto; flooding; & more!

April 14 · Issue #81 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists,
Uber released its S-1, giving us a better look at their financials and business practices — and people have definitely taken notice of some insidious behavior. Vox also had a great series this week on Barcelona, recapped below.
Plus, Bird hiked its rates, Ford’s CEO admitted they were overambitious on AVs (VM and Waymo have made similar admissions), Canada has warmed 1.7ºC, and Hudson Yards benefited from a program that was supposed to help “distressed” neighborhoods.
Have a great week!

Uber releases S-1 ahead of IPO
Uber’s S-1 filing was published earlier this week as it prepares to go public. I haven’t had time to go through the document yet since the end of the semester is taking up nearly all of my time, but plenty of others have. This is some of what they found:
Spotlight on Barcelona
Vox’s David Roberts went to Barcelona to learn about the city’s experiment with superblocks and how it’s trying to reduce car use by providing people with more public space and transport alternatives. He details what he learned in a five-part series:
  1. Barcelona is packed with cars and their associated ills: air pollution, noise, and a bad urban heat island effect. In response, it’s begun taking back road space with a series of “superblocks.”
  2. What are superblocks? What happened when the first ones were put in? And what lessons do they hold for future superblocks?
  3. How Barcelona plans to address the transportation network and the threat of gentrification (+ some really nice maps)
  4. Superblocks present a vision for the post-car city with less car space and more space for residents, but the plan could be under threat is mayor Ada Colau isn’t reelected in May
  5. An examination of whether superblocks could work in U.S. cities, and how their ultimate goal is democratic control of urban space
For those wanting more on Barcelona’s urban history, Roberts also put together a piece to provide the context to the rest of the series.
Around the world
💵 Hudson Yards got $1.2 billion from an investor visa program designed to help “distressed” areas after New York’s development agency gerrymandered the map to connect it to public housing in Harlem
🚇 Ontario premier Doug Ford unveiled a new plan to expand Toronto’s subway system, but is he making the right decisions?
🚐 Uber is hiring to expand its Bus service that launched in Cairo last year
🚋 Toronto’s King Street streetcar route “serves more people than entire public transit systems in many American cities
Bikes and scooters
🇪🇺 A look at scooter companies in Europe, where they operate, whether they have a business model, and how they only launch if cities want them
🎉 Despite Uber’s disinformation campaign, Chicago council has approved its new contract with Divvy to add 10,500 e-bikes to docked bikeshare
🚲 New law in Cambridge will require protected bike lanes to be installed whenever a road is upgraded
🛴 Bird hiked rates in some U.S. cities and plans major European expansion
Alfred Twu
The connection between cheap flights, the convention industry, & Airbnb gentrification ought to be discussed more. For example, air travel to SF increased 50% from 2008 to 2018 while hotel room supply is only up ~10%. Thread 1/
Cars and roads
🛣 New report identifies ten urban highways that should be torn down across the United States — and that’s just a start
🚗 Ford CEO admits he overestimated when self-driving cars would be ready. Their “applications will be narrow” and they’ll be geo-fenced.
🇮🇹 As Rome suffers from a lack of maintenance, members of the secret Gap organization illegally repair potholes and make other fixes
Climate change
🇨🇦 Since 1948, Canada’s average land temperature has increased 1.7ºC — double the global average [full report]
💰 Climate change debates ignore the cost of inaction. A new report says reducing emissions could save the U.S. $220 billion/year by 2090.
Flooding and drought
🇲🇿 Beira, Mozambique was devastated by Cyclone Idai. Three weeks later, life on the ground is still very difficult.
🇮🇷 Flooding in Iran has hit 1900 communities and US sanctions are blocking financial aid. Mike Pompeo blamed Iran’s “mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness” — hypocritical from a US official.
🇿🇦 Last year, Cape Town was approaching ‘Day Zero’ in its water crisis, but then the story disappeared. What happened?
🇸🇳 Saint-Louis, Senegal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is “the city most threatened by rising sea levels in the whole of Africa.”
🏘 California bill SB-50, which would upzone areas around transit stops and other desirable areas, is facing opposition as it moves forward
📖 Amanda Kolson Hurley’s ‘Radical Suburbs’ presents an alternative history of suburbs to show they’re not just a post-war phenomenon for middle-class white people. Read an excerpt.
🇬🇧 The U.K. suburb “is confusing, makes walking inconvenient and unpleasant, suffocates local shops and makes public transport unviable”
Other great reads
🛑 Airbnb reverses policy; will allow settlers in the occupied West Bank to list their illegal properties. Should there be a boycott?
🚄 California’s high-speed rail is far from dead. Northern California Regional Director explains where it goes from here.
🚧 China’s Belt and Road Initiative isn’t just about infrastructure; it will also change cities from London to Kampala
Blast from the past: How NYC demonized people for crossing the street
Blast from the past: How NYC demonized people for crossing the street
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading. You can follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
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