Mario Tama/Getty Images News

A roundup of the best stories on cities and urbanism we've come across in the last seven days.

Tweet us your favorites with #Cityreads.

"The Sao Paulo Commute: Walk, Bus, Train, Train, Train, Bus, Walk. Repeat," Vincent Bevins, The Los Angeles Times

It's 6:30 a.m., and the sun is already painfully bright as Nilda Oliveira steels herself to board her third train of the morning.

"I never sit down. I never try. I don't have the courage," the 48-year-old says, stepping back as the train arrives and men and women push urgently into a space that is much too small to contain them all, bumping haphazardly against the train and one another, rushing to the seats.

"To try to sit, you have to rush in, shoving people aside. There's a fight almost every day."

She waits just long enough, then expertly slides into a small open space she spots from afar. To her right, a boy in a Quiksilver hoodie slumps to the floor, brings his knees to his chest to fit into a corner and rests his head on his knees, looking down.

Oliveira has already been on the move for an hour and a half. About 5 a.m., she left her house and walked 15 minutes to a bus stop and caught a bus to the Guaianazes train station.

The station seems to be the only structure in the neighborhood to have been built professionally; the low-slung houses behind a fence across from the tracks are a jumble of bricks and concrete. A futuristic staircase to a highway overpass spirals up into the dark sky, one of the many scenes on Oliveira's 2 1/2-hour commute that give this megalopolis its reputation as a subtropical "Blade Runner-esque" city, partly inspired by the mega-rich who buzz above in helicopters, preferring to buy their way out of the crime and traffic on the streets below.

"How A Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide The Homeless," Arthur Delaney, The Huffington Post

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Robert Marbut hadn't shaved, and he looked terrible. His bushy brown hair, normally parted neatly, stuck out at odd angles. His clothes stank of beer. Standing in line for lunch at the Halifax Urban Ministries building downtown last spring, Marbut looked much like the hundreds of homeless people who assemble there daily for a free hot meal.

"He just blended right in with the homeless in line," said Michael Pastore, 60, a local activist who works with the homeless. "He was disheveled and had his hair messed up and was wearing dirty clothes, but I recognized him."

The difference between Marbut and the others was that he was a welcome guest in the city. Daytona Beach has been trying to rid its streets of homeless people for years. Finding the problem insurmountable, however, the Daytona Beach City Commission decided last year to bring in an expert. They're paying Marbut six figures to investigate the city’s homelessness problem and devise a solution.

Robert Marbut in a 2011 photo inside of the Pinellas Safe Harbor in Clearwater, Fla., a 500-bed shelter for homeless people in the county. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

"The School House," Jonetta Rose Barras, Washington City Paper

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a Google employee on a bicycle.
    Equity

    How Far Will Google’s Billion-Dollar Bay Area Housing Plan Go?

    The single largest commitment by a private employer to address the Bay Area’s acute affordable housing crisis is unique in its focus on land redevelopment.

  2. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  3. Equity

    Berlin Will Freeze Rents for Five Years

    Local lawmakers agreed to one of Europe’s most radical rental laws, but it sets the stage for a battle with Germany’s national government.

  4. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

  5. A map showing the affordability of housing in the U.S.
    Equity

    Minimum Wage Still Can’t Pay For A Two-Bedroom Apartment Anywhere

    The 30th anniversary edition of the National Low Income Housing Coalition report, “Out of Reach,” shows that housing affordability is getting worse, not better.

×