Also: What density means for the last Senate race of 2018, and what Black Friday says about parking in America.

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What We’re Following

Norwegian good: Hospitals tend to be utilitarian by design, and that often means they aren’t very welcoming. But that’s not the case for St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, where natural light, private rooms, and lush gardens make patients feel a bit more at home. The hospital has become one of the country’s proudest laboratories of universal design, also known as inclusive design. The idea is that a place should be designed not just to accommodate, but to encourage the broadest spectrum of people and abilities.

St. Olav’s is just a preview of what’s to come. The Norwegian government has ambitious plans to embrace universal design by 2025, renovating and upgrading existing buildings, re-envisioning public transportation and housing, and even redesigning websites. Launched in 2005, the action plan is not just about requiring accessibility through rules and regulations, but making it part of a philosophical approach to living. “We don’t believe in one size fits all. It’s about being inclusive, acknowledging that we are different-abled bodies, and that across a lifetime we change,” says the country’s design council program leader. Today on CityLab: With a Deadline In Place, Norway Warms Up to Universal Design

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

America Probably Has Enough Parking Spaces for Multiple Black Fridays

Even the biggest shopping day of the year can’t fill up the enormous oversupply of parking lots that ring U.S. shopping centers.

Laura Bliss

The Ballot Initiative Returns to Its Progressive, Populist Roots

Democrats and Republicans are using ballot measures to motivate voters. The record turnout in the midterm elections this November may indicate that it’s working.

Sarah Holder

The Forgotten Remnants of Route 66

Photographer Edward Keating captures the history of Route 66 over the decades as towns along "the mother road" have fallen into disrepair and obscurity.

Karim Doumar

Berlin’s Massive Housing Push Sparks a Debate About the City’s Future

The German capital has vowed to build 200,000 new homes, with half reserved for affordable rents. But where can they go?

Feargus O'Sullivan

A Party to Bring the East Houston Community Together

As gentrification brings shifts to the East End of Houston, a new resident hopes to bring the community together with a greet, eat, and meet gathering.

Tom Dart


Delta Blues

If Mike Espy were to pull off an upset in Mississippi’s Senate runoff today, it probably wouldn’t be with the same coalition that gave Democrats the House of Representatives earlier this month. Density contributes to what makes Mississippi’s politics so rigid: the state is one of the most rural and least suburban, and it’s the only state without a high-density urban neighborhood. Those demographics accentuate the state’s stark racial divide, where white rural residents outnumber black rural residents two-to-one, as the chart above shows. CityLab’s David Montgomery breaks down the demographics at play in the final Senate election of 2018: In Mississippi Senate Race, the Suburbs Won’t Save Democrat Mike Espy


What We’re Reading

Taking back the suburbs: the Fair Housing Act at 50 (Dissent)

In a Texas art Mecca, humble adobe homes now carry a high cost (New York Times)

If you hate traffic, curb your love for online shopping (Wired)

The origins of Silicon Valley’s garage myth (Fast Company)

GM’s shift away from cars is not great news for pedestrians or the planet (Slate)


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