Our weekly roundup of the most intriguing articles about cities and urbanism we've come across in the past seven days. Share your favorites on Twitter with #cityreads.
"Park Central," Anne Taylor Fleming, L.A. Magazine
"A Toast Story," John Gravois, Pacific Standard
All the guy was doing was slicing inch-thick pieces of bread, putting them in a toaster, and spreading stuff on them. But what made me stare—blinking to attention in the middle of a workday morning as I waited in line at an unfamiliar café—was the way he did it. He had the solemn intensity of a Ping-Pong player who keeps his game very close to the table: knees slightly bent, wrist flicking the butter knife back and forth, eyes suggesting a kind of flow state.
The coffee shop, called the Red Door, was a spare little operation tucked into the corner of a chic industrial-style art gallery and event space (clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Evernote, Google) in downtown San Francisco. There were just three employees working behind the counter: one making coffee, one taking orders, and the soulful guy making toast. In front of him, laid out in a neat row, were a few long Pullman loaves—the boxy Wonder Bread shape, like a train car, but recognizably handmade and freshly baked. And on the brief menu, toast was a standalone item—at $3 per slice.
"Poverty Rates Surge in American Suburbs," Megan Thomson, PBS Newshour
Since 2000, the number of poor people living in suburbs has grown by 65 percent.
For example, poverty is up by almost 16 percent in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Up more than 27 percent in the suburbs of providence. Nearly 79 percent outside Seattle. And in the suburbs of Austin, Texas, the number of poor has swelled almost 143 percent. More poor people now live in America’s suburbs than in cities or in rural areas.
The main explanation for this shift is simply demographics. Many more Americans have moved to suburbs in recent years, and that growth included low-income residents and new immigrants. Other factors - suburbs are still recovering from the foreclosure and financial crises. Kneebone says federal programs for the poor were mostly designed back in the 60’s with rural or urban communities in mind, and when hard times came to the suburbs, many weren’t prepared.
"Evangelical Urbanism: A Review of the Downtown Project's Vegas Revival," Alissa Walker, Gizmodo
As the other story goes, downtown Vegas is not a once-glorious place that crashed and burned; it's been experiencing cycles of rebirth for 100 years. But by building upon the latest revitalization movement that started almost a decade ago, the Downtown Project has impeccable timing and even better momentum—a $350 million, five year investment from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.
After spending the week there, living downtown, walking the blocks, and talking to local residents, I believe what's happening in Vegas could be a third chapter in its history, one in which the city is being reshaped by another growing, powerful organization: the Downtown Project enthusiasts.
" Why Hawaiians Carpool So Much," Ryan Holeywell, Governing
Of all areas with at least 50,000 commuters, three of the top 11 with the highest carpooling rates are found in the Aloha State, a review of Census estimates shows.
In the Honolulu metro area, more than 14.7 percent of adult workers carpool to their jobs. In both the Hilo and Kahului-Wailuku areas, on the Big Island, more than 14 percent of residents carpool to work.
Why, exactly is that the case? It has to do with money and culture.