In case you missed it: This week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

     Steel Stacks, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, inspired by Landschaftspark in Germany (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Steel Stacks, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, inspired by Landschaftspark in Germany (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Happy Friday! Are you still recovering from celebrating the United States women’s FIFA 2015 World Cup Victory? We can help with some relaxing weekend urban reads.

    Pensions

    Another week without a budget. Governor Tom Wolf has vetoed the Republican-backed pension measure. (NewsWorks)

    After nine years of state intervention, Nanticoke now has a balanced budget, most debts paid off and a full complement of financial management staff in place. What can other cities learn through their experience?

    Could Harrisburg serve as a model of pension reform for Scranton? (The Times-Tribune)

     Infrastructure

    Keystone Crossroads previously covered the state of  Pennsylvania’s bridges and roads, but what about sewers?

    One crumbling bridge is so beloved, residents are throwing it a party before it is closed for restoration. Their goal: to help local businesses impacted by the closure. (TRIBLIVE News)

    It isn’t “Minecraft” or “Modern Warfare 3,” but crumbling infrastructure is so cool to a Finnish designer that he’s created a video game about it. Welcome to “INFRA,” where you can restore a fictional Baltic city (CityLab)Parks and parklets

    Abandoned mines, factories, and other sites can be eyesores, but also opportunities. As Marielle Segarra tells us from her reporting fellowship in Germany, one is Landschaftspark Duisberg-Nord, a coal/steel production plant-turned public park that inspired the president of ArtsQuest to create Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

    Street eateries, or “Streeteries” are Easton’s next big plan for parklets. (The Morning Call)

    In the Bronx, designers are measuring the health benefits of public parks. (NextCity)

    Technology

    Imagine sensors on, well, almost everything.   Carnegie Mellon University’s smart city plan starts with putting sensors all over campus  to “turn everyday items into Web-enabled tools.” Think your coffeepot knowing you’re getting close and starting to brew. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

     Do you have mountains of trash sitting in the hot steaming sun. Smells great, right? In situations like these, one wishes there were an Uber for trash. That’s what a new app proposed by a waste management firm proposes. (CityLab)

    Cleveland has a more efficient demolition tracking system, thanks to cloud-based government software. (NextCity)

    Fighting blight

    In Harrisburg, there is proposed legislation that could make it easier to initiate prosecution against owners of blighted properties.

    Small Change is crowdfunding with an urban mission, only taking on development with the potential to make cities better. That includes redeveloping blighted neighborhoods.

    Harrisburg council has launched two new initiatives to fight blight. The first measure allows the city to boost the fine assessed to real estate investors or speculators for code violations to cover the cost of tracking down them down. The second measure creates a legal framework to launch a foreclosed property registry. (Pennlive)

    Two blighted Shamokin properties considered an “immediate danger” following a partial collapse earlier this month will be torn down within two weeks, according to the city code officer. (NEWSITEM)Age matters

    Recently, we covered Pennsylvania’s growing population of baby boomers. Now we are looking at a shift in perspective of aging. In York County, serving older adults often means affordable housing, access to transportation, medical care and yes, a change in attitude.One Philly developer hopes to make Spring Garden housing that is more attractive to bike-riding millennials. (NextCity)

    By applying “rent brakes,” Berlin hopes to avoid older renters from moving out of gentrifying neighborhoods. So far, this new form of rent control is working. (CityLab)Just for fun – coasters and conventions

    Did you know Pennsylvania just might be the coaster state?  Read about the top ten roller coasters. (Centre Daily Times)

    You may also want to attend an unconventional convention.

    Pittsburgh is known for many things and also, as a “Furry Mecca.” Pittsburgh’s annual Anthrocon, which began Thursday, draws all the attention as costumed enthusiasts suddenly appear downtown. But really, the Furry community hangs out in Pittsburgh year-round. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    It may be in San Diego, but you can still watch Comic Con from the comfort of your Pennsylvania home. (IGN)

    Planning ahead? Check out these upcoming anime and comic conventions. You’re welcome. (Geekcal)

     

    May the force be with you this weekend.

     

     

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