A roundup of the best stories on cities and urbanism we've come across in the last seven days.
Tweet us your favorites with #CityReads.
"Living in the Shadows of Glasgow's High Rise Ghettos Before They Get Blown Up," Peter Geoghegan, Vice UK
Early last April, a letter arrived at Betty Caw's neat, pebbledash terrace house directly opposite Glasgow's towering Red Road flats. "The regeneration of North Glasgow is continuing at great pace and with that in mind I have some exciting news," began a single page on council headed paper signed by Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council. Five of the six Red Road multi-storey flats, the letter said, were to be demolished live as part of the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
But the planned demolition never took place. After a week insisting, in the face of public outrage, that blowing up the 1960s-era flats was "a bold and dramatic statement" Glasgow City council finally announced that the plan was being shelved. It was a bold and dramatic statement alright – and an amazingly crass one, the kind that would get you asked to leave a dinner party. The Commonwealth Games would not begin with a bang.
Now, more than nine months later, Betty Caw and her husband, Alec, still look out every day from their living room window at the vertiginous Red Road flats.
"No one knows when they will come down," says Betty, who spent more than two decades living in the Red Road flats. The multi-storey towers, covered in red clay coloured tarpaulin emblazoned with the Glasgow Housing Association logo, dominate the view from the couple's second floor window. "We had good times in those flats, good memories. Now I just want to see the back of them."
A decade ago, federal housing officials made a deal with more than 300 American communities: Let’s end chronic homelessness in 10 years.
Local leaders nationwide embraced the challenge. They drafted plans, created budgets, held public meetings and congratulated themselves on being part of a national movement to get people off the streets.
Then most failed. Miserably, in many cases.
Nowhere has that failure been more obvious or galling than the Portland region. Need proof? Step outside in practically any neighborhood or suburb, and you’ll soon find evidence of human habitation: broken-down cardboard boxes, tarps, fast-food wrappers and shopping carts.
“I’ve had other people come to this city and say, ‘Wow. This is really bad,’” said Doreen Binder, recently retired executive director of Transition Projects Inc., a nonprofit that helps homeless men and women find stability. “And we’re considered a leader.”