This interactive map shows how making apartment buildings illegal creates unaffordable cities

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The Connecticut Zoning Atlas maps which areas of the state are zoned to allow only single-family homes. It’s more than you would think. In Fairfield County in Connecticut—ranked in some studies as the most unequal metropolitan area in the U.S. —$10 million homes on sprawling lots in Westport sit a short drive from rundown homes in the city of Bridgeport, where roughly a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. Read Full Story

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NYC COVID hot spots: Are you in a red zone? This real-time map will show you

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Clicking an area of the map within the five boroughs will tell you which of New York’s designated COVID zones are currently in effect for that area. New York City was the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus crisis during the early days of the pandemic, and while debates about how quickly it will bounce back rage on , the new emergence of local hotspots over the past few weeks has sparked growing concerns among public health officials. Read Full Story

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Sustainable cities after COVID-19: Why Barcelona-style green zones could be the answer

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For a glimpse at the city of the future, look no further than 2,000-year-old Barcelona. The lockdowns and restrictions introduced to control the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in huge changes to urban life. Previously bustling city centers remain empty, shunned in favor of suburban or rural areas where social distancing is easier and connections to the outdoors are abundant. Read Full Story

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This map tells you if you live in a ’15-minute city’

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Find out if you can meet all your needs within a 15-minute bike ride of your house. In a “15-minute city,” it’s possible to meet your basic needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Instead of sitting in traffic during a rush-hour commute, you can work at home or walk to an office nearby. You can walk to get groceries, go to the doctor, take your kids to school, or run any other everyday errand. Housing is affordable, so a barista could live in a walkable neighborhood as easily as a lawyer. It’s a concept championed by the mayor of Paris and, more recently, pitched by a global network of cities as a tool for helping urban areas recover from the pandemic—and improve sustainability and health as people start to get more exercise while conducting their day-to-day activities. Read Full Story

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This new Google mapping tool shows cities where they need to plant more trees

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Trees improve urban life, but they’re not equitably distributed. As cities try to fix this, they now can quickly get a sense of what neighborhoods and streets need them most. A new map of Los Angeles highlights one form of inequality: which of the city’s streets and homes get the benefit of shade from the the city’s 10-million-plus trees. The city is the first to pilot a new tool from Google, called Tree Canopy Lab , that was used to create the map. Read Full Story

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What’s better than a tiny house? A tiny house on wheels

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More and more cities are legalizing backyard houses. But tiny, mobile homes are even cheaper to build and buy, and their adoption could cause a massive increase in alternative housing options. Tiny houses—homes sometimes as small as 150 square feet, popularized on reality shows such as Tiny House Nation —have had a longstanding challenge. You might be able to buy or build one for relatively little money, but because they’re typically constructed on a trailer with wheels, the zoning codes in most cities make them illegal. Tiny-house forums online are filled with people asking how they can find a place to park their new homes. But a growing number of cities are beginning to change local regulations to allow the houses, and that could make a meaningful difference for affordable housing. Read Full Story

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Cars have run their course in U.S. cities. Here’s what’s next

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“Cars are guests.” And they’re no longer welcome. Sticking closer to home because of COVID-19 has shown many people what cities can be like with less traffic, noise, congestion, and pollution. Roads and parking lots devoted to cars take up a lot of land . For example, in Phoenix, Los Angeles , and New York City , these spaces account for over one-third of each city’s total area. Read Full Story

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Maps are a critical weapon in our fight against COVID-19. We can be smarter about how we use them

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It’s surprising how little we have applied geography in shaping our knowledge of what determines health. We should start now. The famous discovery of the origin of a cholera outbreak in a London water pump in 1854 by Dr. John Snow—often regarded as the birth of both the modern city and the field of epidemiology—was achieved through a map. Before 1854, this area of London had no sewer system and was steeped in muck and filth. Cholera previously killed over 14,000 people during outbreaks in 1832 and 1849, but the cause of the disease was yet unknown. Dr. Snow mapped the deaths from cholera at the household level and then eventually came upon the idea of mapping all of the area’s water pumps. The resulting overlap map showed a clear correlation between the one water pump and deaths. By removing the water pump handle, the outbreak was contained and stopped. …

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How this small sensor startup became essential to helping California deal with toxic wildfire smoke

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PurpleAir’s network of air quality monitors and its real time map have provided vital information to people looking to avoid bad health outcomes. Over the last 12 days, wildfires have burned more than 1.2 million acres of land in California, an area collectively larger than Delaware. As the smoke pours into cities like San Francisco, making the air dangerous to breathe, many people aren’t turning to government sites to check the air quality, but to PurpleAir , a tiny startup that maps air quality using sensors in backyards. Read Full Story

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Sorry, Salt Lake City and Denver. Gen X homebuyers are just not that into colder cities

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Out of 50 metro areas in the United States, Memphis tops the list for Generation Xers looking to buy a home, according to new research by LendingTree. Generation X may have listened to Marc Cohn’s Grammy Award-nominated hit song “Walking in Memphis” a bit too much over the years, because homebuyers in that age group are gravitating toward the Bluff City more than any other large metro area in the United States. Read Full Story

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The Local Finder vs. Google Maps: How Different Are They?

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Posted by MiriamEllis Google must be one of the most experimental enterprises the world has ever known. When it comes to the company’s local search interfaces, rather than rolling them all out as a single, cohesive whole, they have emerged in piecemeal fashion over two decades with different but related feature sets, unique URLs, and separate branding. Small wonder that confusion arises in dialog about aspects of local search. You, your agency coworkers, and your clients may find yourselves talking at cross-purposes about local rankings simply because you’re all looking at them on different interfaces! Such is certainly the case with Google Maps vs. the object we call the Google Local Finder. Even highly skilled organic SEOs at your agency may not understand that these are two different entities which can feature substantially different local business rankings. Today we’re going to clear this up, with a side-by-side comparison of the …

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