Good morning, RVA! It's 56 °F and rainy. Expect the rain to clear up but the clouds to stick around, along with the temperatures in the mid 50s, for the rest of the day.
WTVR reports that a driver hit a person riding a bike on Saturday night at the intersection of Rowland and Main Streets. The victim suffered life threatening injuries. This is just four blocks west of where a retired VCU teacher was struck and killed by a driver while on an early-morning jog. As a one-way, two-lane road, W. Main Street is simply too fast and too dangerous for humans. The question is: Will we do anything about it?
City Council will meet tonight for their regularly scheduled meeting, and you can read the agenda here (PDF)—standard disclaimers about the everchangable nature of the agenda apply.
Of note, and on the consent agenda, is ORD. 2017-196, which would officially designate the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust as the City’s land bank. Which...
...brings me to the Affordable Housing Reading List I’ve been talking about for a while. This is by no means a complete list, and after you work through all of these links, you’ll still probably have a ton of questions about where we go next in Richmond as we work for more affordable housing. My takeaway after reading all of these: We need to approach affordable housing now before it becomes a crisis, and we need to use all of the tools at our disposal simultaneously. Also, it’d be great to have some sort of (regional??) Housing Plan to give some direction for the government, nonprofit, and philanthropic communities to work towards. Enjoy!
- Let’s start with this history of Richmond public housing by Libby Germer. You’re going to learn a ton, and it’ll give you the context you need for everything else on this list.
- So you want to zone a city in Virginia? This Practitioner’s Guide to Inclusionary Housing (PDF) explains existing laws in the Commonwealth, offers some case studies to learn from, and even gives some messaging guidance to advocates. If you were designing a new zoning policy that includes affordable housing, start here.
- Or you could go with this study from the Urban Land Institute (PDF) that will get you in the mind of a developer and explain what incentives cities can use to encourage projects that include affordable housing.
- Here’s a fun tool from the Center for Neighborhood Technology that lets you plug in your city, zip, or census blockgroup and see what percentage of total income that housing plus transportation costs make up for folks. Because owning a car is expensive, pairing transportation costs with housing costs makes for a good way to measure affordability. In the neighborhoods surrounding Richmond, where public transit options are poor and car ownership is high, the average usually exceeds the recommended 45% benchmark.
- This piece in Richmond Magazine is a great primer on the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust. Check out the cool infographic at the bottom of the article.
- But, it’s important not to confuse the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust with the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The former deals in land, the latter in money. Here’s a report on the impact the Trust Fund has had dishing out cash over the last couple of years (PDF).
- Here's an excellent resource on how to combat common and ineffective messaging around housing (PDF). Everyone who advocates for anything should read this PDF.
- We started with a local and let’s end with a local. Here’s a recent post by Mariia Zimmerman—an expert on transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and regional planning—about the impact recent Trump policy will have both nationally and locally.
Whew! That’s a lot of reading, but I think you’ll benefit from it! Thank you to Jonathan Knopf for sending me an excellently overwhelming amount of reading material when I asked a couple months back.
Also of note on City Council’s agenda: ORD. 2018-028 which looks like it creates a new position on the mayor’s team called the “Mayor’s Advisor for Youth Initiatives” that’s funded by the Community Foundation. From the ordinance’s details (PDF), it looks like this person will mostly support the work of the Education Compact in a full-time way.
Now that you know all kinds of new things about affordable housing, you’ll have a new perspective when you read this quick update about Better Housing Coalition’s plans for the old Quality Inn on Broad Street. Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense has the details, and it sounds like more details to come in a couple of weeks.
It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week! Colleen Curran at the Richmond Times-Dispatch talked to folks at the James River Park System (including master naturalist Laura...Greenleaf?!) about the critical need to remove invasive species from the park. The James River Park System’s Invasive Plant Task Force has a list of the Top 10 worst invasives that need to get the heck out of our excellent urban wildernesses!
The RVA subreddit has a collection of weird and interesting photos folks took over the weekend: A very creepy...sculpture?...left on the disc golf course; a skeletal rocking chair that you can buy for only $23,000; and a set of found photos, maybe they’re yours?
There’s a new episode of my podcast, Sam and Ross Like Things, for you to listen to! On this episode we talk about Sodastream and cribbage—two things we definitely like. Give it a listen and feel the positive vibes.
- Rams fell to the Bonnies, 63-68.
- Spiders just missed out against Saint Joseph’s, 70-72.
- Hokies couldn’t get it done against Louisville, 68-75.
- Wahoos walloped Pitt, 66-37.
This morning's longread
Ahhhh! I loved this long piece about why paper jams exist and the people that live to fix them.
By this point, Ruiz appeared to be vibrating. “Here’s a stupid idea,” he said. “Bernoulli!” Bernoulli’s principle, discovered in 1738, entails that fast-moving air exerts less air pressure than slow-moving air. Because the top side of an airplane wing is curved, while the underside is flat, the air above moves faster than the air below, and the wing rises. “If you have jets of air shooting above the corners, the airflow will lower the pressure, and they’ll lift,” Ruiz said. Using the flat of his hand, he mimed the paper levitating like a wing. “We could take the output from the vacuum pump and port it around to make it the air source for your Bernoulli,” Breed said.
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