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How Houston Could Become America's Best City: Top #Cityreads of the Week

Our weekly roundup of the most intriguing articles about cities and urbanism we've come across in the past seven days.

Watch a Houston Department Store Explode in Glorious Slow-Motion

This Sunday's demolition looked like a massive doughnut hole forming in the middle of a department store.

Dustin Cable

A Strangely Beautiful Map of Race in America

A story told in dots.

NASA/ISS

A Nighttime Mystery Over the Biggest Cities in Texas

See if you can spot all the different light sources in this International Space Station image.

Florida Department of Transportation

Why Are HOT Lanes Struggling to Make Money?

Broadly speaking, the answer comes down to poor planning and a commuter learning curve.

Vigdor

Why Cities Should Be Leading the Push for Immigration Reform

New research suggests that immigrants could boost housing values in precisely the shrinking cities that need it.

The Devastating Impact of 30 Years of Sprawl, As Seen From Space

The lightning pace of world urbanization is on display in these animated GIFs of Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Hong Kong and other exploding metropolises.

Trust for Public Land

What We Can Learn About a City by Mapping Its Parks

New data from the Trust for Public Land illuminates which neighborhoods offer excellent green space access ... and which really don't.

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How Houston Became the Most Powerful Job Engine in the Country

The secret sauce of the city's success might come down to history, and an ability to learn from past mistakes.

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Does Living Near Fast Food Restaurants Increase Your Risk of Obesity?

Research looking at African Americans in Houston finds a significant correlation.

Armed Citizens Project

A Gun Giveaway Program, Coming to a City Near You

A Houston nonprofit wants to test the theory that a fully armed neighborhood is a safer one.

Mark Byrnes

What Should Become of the Astrodome?

Officials are grappling with this choice: spend tens of millions to demolish the stadium, or hundreds of millions to save it.

Mapping the Noxious Ozone Plumes Over Houston

A new app from Texas researchers shows how clouds of lung-pummeling ozone move through Houston neighborhoods.

Providence

Providence Wins Mayors Challenge Prize for Early Childhood Project

The $9 million Bloomberg Philanthropies contest also awards innovations from Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Santa Monica.

MPI's Zara Matheson

Class-Divided Cities: Houston Edition

The eighth in our series exploring the class divides across America's largest cities and metros.

The 8 Most Intriguing Finalists From the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Five winners will be announced this spring, but these ideas stand out above the rest.

Here's What Would Happen if a Huge Asteroid Hit Your City

Would you dissolve in fire or would your clothes simply ignite?

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Are Some Cities Built to Encourage Drunk Driving?

A look at which major U.S. cities have the most fatal car crashes per capita.

Flickr/IDV Solutions

The Geography of Drunk Driving

The percentage of accidents involving alcohol varies widely by city.