A new study quantifies what big buildings are doing to the ground beneath San Francisco and other cities, as sea levels rise.
In late 2020, engineers began working on a $100 million project to stop San Francisco’s Millennium Tower from tilting and sinking further into the ground. Tenants of the beleaguered luxury condo had learned four years earlier that the 58-story high-risehad sunk some 16 inches in over a decade. But the tower’s predicament is only part of a larger problem, and not just for the Bay Area: Cities around the world are sinking under the weight of their own urban development — at the same time that sea levels are rising.
A new study seeks to quantify how much the sheer weight of the built environment contributes to the sinking of cities, a geological phenomenon known as land subsidence. While urbanization is just one small cause of this phenomenon among several,the paper in the journal AGU Advances estimates that its impact is only likely to grow as people move to cities in greater numbers. As a result, densely packed cities are likely to sink faster than less developed areas…(more)
Art Laffer, president of Laffer Associates, explains how additional spending related to coronaviruses could hurt the economy.
The homemade version of the coronavirus stimulus bill contains more than $ 100 million for a metro project in Silicon Valley for which planning has been underway for several years but has not yet started.
Funding for the project, phase two of the Bay Area Transit Authority (BART) expansion, was incorporated into the House Transportation Committee’s section of the bill under a funding provision for “All projects referred to in article 3005 (b) of public law 114-94. having received allocations for the financial years 2019 and 2020 ”, except“ projects open to the revenue service ”.
Three community groups are filing lawsuits in an attempt to stop the planned expansion of the University of California, San Francisco’s Parnassus campus.
San Franciscans for Balanced and Livable Communities, the Parnassus Neighborhood Coalition and The Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium allege that the environmental impacts that will be caused by the expansion were understated by the university, and suggest that the expansion would be better suited to the existing Mission Bay campus.
“The aim of the lawsuits is not to stop this project, but to make it work for all of us,” said former Mayor Art Agnos, who has joined neighborhood leaders pursuing citywide efforts to change the plan…(more)
Did not see this one coming. One more area of concern over the State control over our local decision-making process that may hit some new legal notes and raise some old issues at a time when the state is under much scrutiny with the recall efforts and the YIMBY/NIMBY over dense development becoming more heated as our state Senator goes after single family homes and neighborhoods, where most people live. UC is one of the most powerful organizations in the state. Challenging that power is a big lift.
Vancouver’s high-profile professor, planner and author, Patrick Condon, told more than 160 California community leaders at the Livable California Teleconference on Feb. 6, 2021 that “upzoning” of neighborhoods drives up housing costs and cannot create affordable housing…
No amount of opening zoning or allowing for development will cause prices to go down. We’ve seen no evidence of that at all. It’s not the NIMBYs that are the problem – it’s the global increase in land value in urban areas that is the problem.”
An investigation by Reuters in 2019 presents horrifying data:
To date, the Navy’s $285.1 million Treasure Island cleanup has unearthed concentrations of lead, dioxins, petroleum and more than 1,000 radioactive items. Among other activities, the Navy had used the island to repair ships with deck markers painted with radium.
The upshot, public health specialists say, is that the Navy unnecessarily exposed families to radioactive and toxic materials for decades. Since the military pulled out, the island has become home to some 1,800 people, many living in subsidized housing.
“They never should have allowed anyone to live there,” said health physicist Gaetano Taibi, a radiation safety officer on Treasure Island before joining California’s Department of Public Health.
There’s more. The dirt contains radioactive material. The Navy keeps denying that there’s a problem. And the city’s development partners want to build it out so they can make money…
Sup. Matt Haney has asked the California Environmental Protection Agency, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Treasure Island Development Authority, and United States Department of the Navy to report.
Last month, I noted that the Trump administration had suffered “one final judicial defeat” – the rejection of its Affordable Clean Energy Rule. Of course, I spoke to soon. Last week, Judge Brian Morris rejected EPA’s rule “Strengthening Transparency in Pivotal Science Underlying Significant Regulatory Actions and Influential Scientific Information” – also known as the “Secret Science Rule.”
The Secret Science Rule was promulgated on January 6, 2021, just before Andrew Wheeler’s exit as EPA administrator, and after more than two years of rulemaking. EPA stated that the rule was not subject to the APA’s notice provisions, both because it was “housekeeping”, rather than substantive, and because – don’t laugh – the crisis of confidence in EPA rulemaking was so significant that the order couldn’t wait. Of course, January 20 had nothing to do with it.
Judge Morris rejected both arguments. And, like many other courts reviewing the Trump administration’s regulations, Judge Morris’s language could serve as a summary of the Trump administration’s deregulatory efforts as a whole. First, he eviscerated EPA’s claim that the rule was procedural, rather than substantive:
The Final Rule instead makes a substantive determination of how the agency should weigh particular scientific information in future rulemakings. The Final Rule determines outcomes rather than process. The Final Rule’s status becomes particularly clear when one examines what it is missing-any kind of procedure. (My emphasis.)
Then Judge Morris eviscerated (such a good word, I had to use it twice), EPA’s argument that the lack of notice was justified because the rule was promulgated in response to an emergency:…(more)