A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Failed predictions: In last week’s California wildfires, the devastation that consumed the Santa Rosa neighborhood of Coffey Park came as a surprise to many residents—and demonstrated the flaws of the hazard maps that dictated the area’s codes for fire-proofing buildings. The Los Angeles Times reports:
California fire officials developed hazard maps in the 2000s that, for the first time, tied building codes to geographies based on risk. Max Moritz, a fire specialist with the University of California’s Cooperative Extension, said the maps were an important step forward in assessing fire danger.
But the Coffey Park catastrophe has shown that the methodology, and the law underlying it, were too narrow.
“With a lot of hazard mapping, once you get into a density of development, it’s mapped urban and it’s considered unburnable,” Moritz said. “From its core, our whole approach to fire behavior modeling, we are not talking about burning in urbanized environments.”
- See also: Even before the wildfires displaced thousands of residents and destroyed some 5,700 buildings, Napa and Sonoma counties were already facing a housing crisis. (The New York Times)
How Vegas has changed: The tourism culture of Sin City is adapting in the aftermath of the Oct. 1 mass shooting, with new security measures in place and a pause to flashy slogans and billboards, as analysts predict a dip in visitors for about six months. (AP)
“Test Market, U.S.A”: As brick-and-mortar retailers experiment with all sorts of gimmicks to win back shoppers, their testing ground of choice is often Columbus, Ohio—historically considered a microcosm of the national population’s age and ethnicity. One side effect is that the Rust Belt city now hosts more fashion designers than any U.S. city besides New York and L.A. (New York Times)
“City of Design” no more? What does the Trump administration’s withdrawal from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) mean for Detroit, which won that organization’s “City of Design” title in 2015? (Metro Times)
Going underground: In Nashville, the mayor’s transit vision includes a large underground tunnel that would allow buses and trains to avoid the narrow streets of the central business district. (Tennessean)
The urban lens:
Progress on the future downtown public pocket park on Lower Dexter Avenue! Fun photo of some of the awesome Liberty Construction workers building it. Planters and deck framing are nearing completion. The street front facade work to replicate the former Montgomery Fair Arcade with its distinctive, salvaged blue and white vitrolite tiles should be underway this month. #dexteravenue #citylabontheground #thirdplace #myMGM #29Dexter #digmygig #publicplacemaking
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