The exurbs’ comeback; bailing on the Olympics; and dead-lifting cars: Urban Insights From Around the Web

Ryan Holeywell | @RyanHoleywell | July 31, 2015

In a move that’s drawn praise from many observers, Boston has dropped its plans to compete for the 2024 Olympics. Image via flickr/Shawn Carpenter.

In a move that’s drawn praise from many observers, Boston has dropped its plans to compete for the 2024 Olympics. Image via flickr/Shawn Carpenter.

While the Urban Edge strives to provide readers with daily news and insights about urban policy, we’re also voracious readers of city news ourselves. As part of a new weekly feature, senior editor Ryan Holeywell and the staff of the Kinder Institute highlight the week’s most interesting articles from around the web about urban policy and city life.

Houston could pay officers to live in areas with frequent calls for service

Under a new proposal, police officers who live within any of the 10 police districts with the highest number of calls would be eligible for $25,000 in bonuses over three years, the Houston Chronicle reports. Less than half the city’s cops live in Houston, and in Texas, it’s generally illegal to require municipal workers to live within the city limits of their employer. The police department is hoping the program will help deter crime and build goodwill within neighborhoods.

How Two Artists Hope to Liven Up Chicago’s ‘L’ Tracks

A pair of artists raised $55,000 to install colorful LED lights beneath a portion of Chicago elevated train tracks. The public art project has a unique component: anyone can control the light display with a simple app. The pair has been working with key local agencies, CityLab reports, and hopes the public art project will bring new visitors to the area.

Dead U.S. Exurbs Are Staging Comebacks

Thought everybody was moving to inner city? Think again. The exurbs, considered dead after the 2008 financial collapse, are making a comeback as builders resuscitate once-shelved plans, according to a Bloomberg report. The trend is driven in part by homebuyers who are being priced out of expensive markets like the San Francisco Bay area.

George Washington University applicants no longer need to take admissions tests
The Washington, D.C. school is one of the largest and most prominent universities to go “test-optional” and drop requirements that applicants submit SAT and ACT scores, the Washington Post reports. The move reflects a growing belief in some circles that standardized tests are a barrier that deter some disadvantaged high school students from applying for admission.

Why Boston is smart to bail on the Olympic games

Boston city leaders recently cancelled their bid to host the Olympics in 2024. The Washington Post’s Emily Badger says that’s a smart move, considering the costs of hosting the games and the fact that Olympic cities often must shelve other municipal priorities as they turn their focus exclusively to the big event.

Car blocks cycling path, man deadlifts it out of the way

This Brazilian man will likely become a folk hero to bicycle enthusiasts worldwide. In a video that went viral this week, a muscular cyclist is seen lifting and moving a small car that was parked in a bicycling lane. Someone get this guy a plane ticket to Houston.

The art of the interchange

Urban thinkers aren’t always fans of highways. But regardless of your politics, it’s hard to deny the beauty of these images. In a slideshow published by Politico Magazine, photographer Peter Andrew shows stunning overhead views of highway interchanges in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago, among other places.

San Francisco tests pee-repellent paint to ward off public urinators

Pedestrian-friendly communities are a great thing. But they become not-so-great when those pedestrians treat the community like a toilet. In an effort to deter public urination, the San Francisco Public Works department recently coated some buildings with a clear sealant that will cause urine (or other liquids) to splash back in the direction they came from. The walls include signs warning visitors not to urinate on them. “If they happen to take that chance, they can get their feet or pants wet,” Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru told the Los Angeles Times. “It does work. Believe me.” The sealant was applied to 10 buildings in three neighborhoods.

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