Welcome to CityLab!

Wondering what's going on here? Read on. 

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I'm so pleased to welcome you to CityLab.com.

We’re thrilled to unveil a new look, a new domain, and a new name for the site formerly known as The Atlantic Cities. Over the past several months, we’ve rethought every part of this website, from the homepage to the article pages, from our regular features to the ways readers navigate through each story or image. The result is what you see: a cleaner, more beautiful, mobile-first design that better fits our mission to inform and inspire the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there.

Wait, I loved The Atlantic Cities. Why did you change the name?

So glad you asked. While nothing has changed about our kinship with The Atlantic, we just really like the name CityLab better. Our approach to journalism has always been grounded in experimentation and a sense of fun, and we think CityLab captures that spirit. Plus, between you and me, the old name was always a bit of a tongue-twister.

The site is also expanding its focus and mission, and we wanted a name that reflects where we’re heading. Readers will continue to find the coverage they’ve come to expect, but we’re adding a new lifestyle-focused section, called Navigator, as well as an in-depth tool for our most loyal readers, called CityFixer. More on those below.

And last fall, along with our partners Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Aspen Institute, The Atlantic launched its newest marquee event, which happens to be called “CityLab: Urban Solutions for Global Challenges.” That summit, which brought together mayors and city builders from all over the world, reflects the same editorial values, interests, and core audience of our site. With the event entering its second year in Los Angeles this fall, it made sense to strengthen both efforts by aligning them more closely.

Very cool. So what’s this Navigator thing you mentioned? 

Navigator is “The Modern Urbanist’s Guide to Life,” our new section dedicated to the challenges and rewards of city living. This is where we’ll explore everything from age-old quandaries about how to behave in situations common to big cities, to the latest gadgets and designs making urban life easier and more fun. Inside Navigator, there are three main areas: How-To’s, Etiquette, and the Stuff we can’t live without. We’re so excited to debut this new coverage area for the site, and can’t wait to hear what you think. 

And CityFixer?

CityFixer is a tool we’ve designed for the people doing the hard work of addressing the most pressing issues facing the world’s cities and neighborhoods. It collects the best ideas and stories about a dozen of the top preoccupations of cities—including streets, civic life, policing, and energy use—in one place. A click on “Aging,” for example, will surface all past CityLab.com coverage of the topic. Think of this tool as a service and a thank-you to our most loyal readers—the urban planners, transportation engineers, and city hall staffers who’ve been such a big part of our success.

It looks like some of the navigation channels have changed, too?

Yes, a few of them. The old Jobs & Economy channel is now called Work. And we’ve added two new ones: Crime, the new home for our coverage of policing and criminal justice, and Weather, where our climate change and major weather-related stories now live.

The article pages do look less cluttered.

Yes! We’ve cleared away most of the right-rail features that made the old site look somewhat dated. So there’s an airier, cleaner feel to every page, and we also now have the ability to let our best maps, photos, and videos occupy the full width of your screen, which we’re just thrilled about.

What does mobile-first mean?

This is the change to the site I’m most excited about. CityLab.com was designed to be fully responsive, which means a seamless experience no matter the device—desktop, tablet, or phone. If you’re reading this on a desktop, go ahead and try shrinking your browser window and you’ll see the page adjust to fit—or better yet, grab a phone or tablet and check out how much better the reading experience is now than it used to be on those devices. On a given day, more than 40 percent of you are reading CityLab on your smartphones, a bigger percentage than any other Atlantic website. So it was a key goal of our redesign that the new site give all you mobile readers a vastly improved experience.

Anything else?

CityLab is still a work in progress. Over the next weeks and months we’ll be adding features and making tweaks and adjustments as we learn more about what is and isn’t working for you. And that means we need your feedback. Notice a bug? Love (or hate) something you see on the new site? Please contact us here.

 

About the Author

  • Sommer Mathis is editor of CityLab. Previously she spent five years editing and reporting on the D.C. metro area at DCist.com and TBD.com.