Introducing the CityLab Congressional Density Index.

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What We’re Following

It’s the suburbs, stupid: When it comes to political shorthand, the urban-rural divide is nearly as useful as red states and blue states—and this November, the purple is in the suburbs. To understand how these middle grounds might determine control of the House of Representatives, CityLab’s David Montgomery and Richard Florida created the CityLab Congressional Density Index, breaking down this year’s midterm elections in terms of what kids of places people live in.

Congressional districts contain multitudes—a single one might have cornfields, cul-de-sacs, and skyscrapers. This index calculates the density of every neighborhood in each district to group them into six categories. You can even use our interactive tool to see how we classified your district. Looking at the data, one theme becomes really clear: Republicans have a lot more competitive seats to defend in the suburban districts than Democrats do. Get the full story: In U.S. Elections, Urban Density Is Increasingly Destiny

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Big Cities Have Longer Flu Seasons, While Small Cities Have More Intense Ones

New research reveals how city size and density affect the transmission of the flu virus.

Jason Plautz

A Transportation Platform for Chicago’s Next Mayor

After Rahm Emanuel, the city’s new leader could build a national model for an equitable transportation system. Here’s how.

Steven Vance, Lynda Lopez, and Yonah Freemark

The Woman Who Fought Transit Segregation in 19th-Century New York

Before Rosa Parks, there was Elizabeth Jennings.

Nicole Javorsky

Finding Real Representation in Doug Ford’s Toronto

After unprecedented intervention from Ontario’s conservative government, it’s important for city residents to affirm and expand the meaning and practice of local democracy.

Estair Van Wagner and Alexandra Flynn

What It Means When Adults Get Homesick

As young people start their own lives, they often miss where they came from. That can be a challenging but clarifying experience.

Rainesford Stauffer



What We’re Reading

Detroit’s street lights seem to be reducing pedestrian deaths (Streetsblog)

Desire paths: the trails that defy urban planners (The Guardian)

Philly’s glass skyscrapers are killing birds. A new building has a solution (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Seattle’s decade-plus backyard cottage fight, annotated (Crosscut)

New York City has a “Yelp for noise” (Fast Company)


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