Today’s Solutions: August 19, 2022

During the pandemic, cities closed off their streets to cars, turned unused parking garages into urban farms, and expanded bike lanes. These people-friendly modifications made cities more livable during a global pandemic, but many of them are here to stay as cities shift away from car-based infrastructure in favor of human-centered design. 

The shift of public space away from streets and parking lots in favor of walking space, recreation areas, and green space is one change that appears to be here to stay. During the pandemic, Seattle launched its Stay Healthy Streets program, which upgraded more than 20 miles of neighborhood greenways and closed off streets to vehicles. Now, the city plans to keep this program alive even post-pandemic. 

Across the country in Raleigh, North Carolina, the city transformed curbside parking spaces into short-term pick-up parking. There are now more than 200 of these zones in the city which allow patrons to stop in and support their favorite local shops without circling the block looking for parking. Long-term parking options are gone, but there is more street space for pedestrians and less traffic. The program was created during the pandemic, but now the city plans to make it permanent. 

Housing is another big sector that has been permanently changed by the pandemic. 45 cities across the US instituted eviction moratoriums and 78 expanded utility assistance programs. Many cities, like Philadelphia, are keeping these programs alive for long-term housing security. 

Cities also took more long-term approaches to housing the unsheltered. The pandemic encouraged many cities to realize that permanent housing solutions were a more ethical and cost-effective solution to homelessness. The City of Austin purchased a large hotel to turn into transitional housing and the program has been so successful, they’re planning to buy a second facility soon. 

We’ve discussed how the pandemic is an opportunity to rethink and revamp our urban spaces to be more sustainable, equitable, and accessible. These are just some of the changes propagated by the pandemic that are improving our cities for the better in the long run.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

The square dancers of today—part II of True American, a mini-series

Last Friday we shared the fascinating history of the square dance in the United States of America. Together, we traced back how it became an emblem of American society that forced so many school kids ... Read More

4 ways to boost your physical, mental, and social well-being

Recently, life has certainly been stressful, but if you’ve been feeling particularly on edge in recent days, it might just be time to make self-care a priority in your life. You shouldn’t see caring for ... Read More

Greenland permanently bans all oil and gas exploration

In exciting news for the planet and environmentalists, Greenland has announced it is permanently halting all new oil and gas exploration in the country. Despite the recent discovery of potentially significant oil reserves off the ... Read More

7 creative ways to use rosemary outside of cooking

The pleasant woody aroma of rosemary often brings thoughts of roast dinners to our minds, however, this Mediterranean herb also has many uses outside of cooking. Here are seven surprising ways to put your rosemary ... Read More