A resident stands in what remains of her home, which was destroyed by a wildfire in the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California. Jae C. Hong/AP

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:

Share your city on Instagram using #citylabontheground.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  2. a photo of a man surveying a home garage.
    Transportation

    How Single-Family Garages Can Ease California's Housing Crisis

    Given the affordable housing crisis, California cities should encourage single-family homeowners to convert garages into apartments and accessory dwelling units.

  3. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.

  4. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  5. Transportation

    Will Ottawa Ever Get Its Light Rail?

    Sinkholes, winter-weary trains, and political upheaval have held the Confederation Line light-rail transit back from a seriously overdue opening.