The new Nashville skyline is booming with development. But the plan to replace one small downtown park with a new condo tower has proved controversial. Dan Reynolds Photography/Getty Images

Also today: Why Minneapolis just made zoning history, and a debate over Oahu’s ‘monster’ homes.

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What We’re Following

Grand ole swap-me: Over the last decade, few U.S. cities have transformed as profoundly as fast-growing Nashville. Amidst glittering new condo towers, average monthly rents jumped by more than 60 percent metro-wide from 2011 to 2017. As housing costs squeeze out residents with fewer means, homelessness has also shot up.

Now, a controversial land-swap proposal is demanding some soul-searching on the part of city leaders. A prominent developer wants to build condos on top of Church Street Park, a public space in the heart of downtown that's the subject of frequent complaints among the general population, partly due to its popularity among homeless individuals. In exchange for the land, the developer would give the city an equally sized parcel on the edge of downtown, plus roughly $7 million in green space investments and an offer to build the city's planned homeless service center, with 100 units of permanent housing, at cost.

Supporters say it's a win-win for parks and shelter. But detractors say the deal-sweeteners distract from what's really at stake: the city's sense of public life, and a stance on homelessness that tends to push needy people out. Read my story on CityLab: The Big Stakes in a Fight Over a Little Park in Nashville

Laura Bliss


More on CityLab

Why Minneapolis Just Made Zoning History

The ambitious Minneapolis 2040 plan will encourage more dense housing development in single-family neighborhoods.

Kriston Capps

On Oahu, a Debate Over Honolulu’s ‘Monster’ Homes

Critics say the massive homes are code-dodging rentals. Others say space for extended-family home-share is necessary to manage the high home prices in Hawaii.

Kathleen M. Wong

Inside a Mexico City ‘Market On Wheels’

Why the roving vendors of Ruta 6, one of Mexico City’s Mercado Sobre Ruedas keep at their craft, and maintain customers despite the rise of Walmart.

Feike de Jong and Gustavo Graf

How Cities Can Lead on Climate Change Solutions

The latest United Nations climate change report paints a dire picture, but IPCC co-chair Debra Roberts says urban residents have a critical role to play in addressing the crisis.

Ian Klaus

The ‘Sweeping’ Effect of a $15-an-Hour Job Guarantee

A new report analyzes the complicated labor market impact of a radical proposal that’s gaining traction on the left.

Tanvi Misra


Taco the town

(Carter Rubin)

Does your city's transit system live más? Do taco trucks rule the streets? Last week, Carter Rubin, a mobility and climate advocate at the National Resources Defense Council, posed an all-important question to Twitter: How does your city rank on tacos and transit? With emoji-based crowdsourcing, Rubin got a sampling of answers ranging from Baltimore to Barcelona. But we wanted to add a dash of data to cook up our own results and find out what, if anything, the two might have to do with one another.

So CityLab data reporter David Montgomery put out a poll and we’ve received over 700 responses so far. Now it’s your turn, readers. We want to know: Where does your city fall on the tacos vs. transit scale? Take our fast three-question poll and CityLab will plot the results!


What We’re Reading

Your apps know where you were last night, and they’re not keeping it secret (New York Times)

How Santa Monica, the birthplace of dockless electric scooters, is shaping the multibillion dollar industry (Curbed)  

Inside the Philadelphia DA’s side hustle: selling seized homes to speculators and cops (PlanPhilly)

The housing boom is already gigantic. How long can it last? (New York Times)


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