Flooding in Pakistan has stranded hundreds of thousands of people, an anti-vaccination movement trending in L.A.'s most affluent neighborhoods is causing a whooping cough epidemic, and one broken air conditioner could destroy Rome's most priceless art. Hope you're comfortable, this week's What's Ruining Our Cities is a doozy.
There's weird weather everywhere this week, with summer snow in Calgary and record-breaking monsoonal rains in Phoenix. But nothing beats the flooding currently ripping through areas of Pakistan and India, where over half a million people have been stranded and at least 500 people have died. What makes these floods so bad? According to CityLab, poor infrastructure maintenance, plus the fact that traditional city-planning methods which worked for centuries—building homes on higher ground, avoiding construction in creekbeds—have been ignored in the name of "progress." [CityLab]
There's a whooping cough epidemic currently crippling Southern California, and nowhere in the country are cases higher than in L.A. County. Why? Through some pretty damning data, the Hollywood Reporter's Gary Baum points the finger directly at L.A.'s most affluent residents, who are sending their kids to school with "Personal Belief Exemption forms" instead of vaccinations. At some schools—the city's richest, I might add—the vaccination rates for these deadly diseases are lower than that of South Sudan. Yikes. [Hollywood Reporter]
It's been hot and humid in Rome this summer, which should really not surprise anyone since it's hot and humid in Rome every summer. Still, the city's Galleria Borghese was clearly not prepared for this predictable weather pattern, since it neglected to repair its broken air conditioner in time for the warmer months. Now the faulty HVAC system has now probably destroyed a priceless work of art: Raphael's Deposition, which he painted in 1507, has been warped by the heat, and other paintings are apparently at risk, too. It all calls into question Rome's budget-crippled ability to preserve and maintain these priceless treasures. [The Independent]
Remember that too-modern house that a Raleigh, North Carolina neighborhood was battling because it was, well, too modern? A superior court judge decided that the neighborhood did not have legal grounds to fight the development after it was approved by the local historic commission and granted building permits. The best possible outcome from the whole thing? The Twitter account @ModernOakwood, which has pretty much tormented the most vocal anti-modern neighbor (nice work). [News Observer]
A flooded home in Multan, Pakistan, Mansoor Abass/AP Photo