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

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.

***

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)


Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to hello@citylab.com.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Mapping the Changing Colors of Fall Across the U.S.

    Much of the country won’t see those vibrant oranges and reds until mid-October, which leaves plenty of time for leaf peepers to plan their autumn road trips.

  2. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  3. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

×