Also: Where fast-growing companies want to be, and what older people can learn from parkour.

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What We’re Following

Tunnel vision: We get it, putting a Tesla in a tunnel does not make a “train,” even if that’s what Elon Musk called it Tuesday night on Twitter. After his Boring Company took reporters on a bumpy ride through its mile-long tunnel beneath an industrial park near L.A., rail fans were either laughing or hanging their heads at Musk’s tendency to displace more proven, efficient modes of transit from conversation. But there’s one piece of the demonstration that’s hard to discard and that is the price: Musk said the demonstration tunnel cost only $10 million per mile to dig.

A Tesla Model X inside the Boring Company's demonstration tunnel in Los Angeles. (Boring Company)

That figure excludes costs of research, development, and equipment, and it’s unclear how property acquisition or labor factor in. But even if this tunnel cost $50 million a mile, it would still be a fraction of what comparable projects cost, which have averaged between $200 million and $500 million per mile in the United States (and don’t forget the record-breaking $2.6 billion per mile New York paid for the Second Avenue Subway). If Musk’s company has made a boring machine that does the job cheaper and faster than what civil engineers thought possible, that could be a boon for underground transit systems in the United States, writes Laura Bliss. Today on CityLab: Dig Your Crazy Tunnel, Elon Musk!

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Fast-Growing Companies Prefer Vibrant Parts of Cities—and Suburbs

A new study finds that high-growth companies flock to neighborhoods that are more mixed-use and transit-accessible, whether in urban centers or suburbia.

Richard Florida

Can Parkour Teach Older People to 'Fall Better'?

The sport isn’t just about extreme jumping. It also focuses on balance and agility, which are important for avoiding injury as people age.

Linda Poon

Archigram’s Radical Architectural Legacy

Three members of the ‘60s collective talk to author Darran Anderson about postmodernism, metabolism, their values, and watching the world catch up to them.

Darran Anderson

Oslo Metro Taps Zaha Hadid Architects for Its Expansion

The transit project is part of an effort not only to better connect a far-flung corner of the city, but to brand a development site as sleek and forward-looking.

Feargus O'Sullivan

In ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ an Ode to the Gas Lamp

The lamps that once lit London's streets have come to symbolize a certain time and place in British history.

Jennifer Tucker


What We’re Reading

For one city manager, climate becomes a matter of conscience (NPR)

Back to the land: Are young farmers the new starving artists? (The Guardian)

San Francisco legalizes itself (Slate)

The dark history of Santa’s city: how Rovaniemi rose from the ashes (The Guardian)


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