Also: A graphical guide to the retail apocalypse, and the year of the YIMBY.

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

Earlier this month, council members in Columbus, Ohio, approved $1 million for an unusual purpose: Starting in June 2019, the city will pilot a ride-hailing service to get expectant moms to their doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other daily essentials.

The “prenatal trip assistance” program will be small—lasting six months and serving 500 women—but it’s incredibly important. Franklin County has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the U.S., with 150 infant deaths per year. Transportation is one strand in a web of reasons for this: Pregnant women who can’t find a ride to prenatal care visits are that much more likely to give birth preterm, the leading cause of infant death. Stress also plays a role, and unreliable transportation, among other conditions of poverty and race, can wear a person down.

So there were high hopes in 2016, when Columbus won a $50 million USDOT grant to use cutting-edge technology to improve the transportation system. The city committed as a focal point of its proposal to lift up low-income, pregnant women of color at highest risk for unhealthy pregnancies. But when I visited in late 2017, those promises had faded; there were no plans for a prenatal trip pilot, even as the city moved ahead on autonomous vehicle testing and other futuristic ideas.

My subsequent article sparked more conversation about whom urban technology is really for. And, after it was published, Columbus altered its DOT-approved project list to include a program for pregnant moms. So finally, next year, some women in Columbus will see a “smarter city” after all. Read my story today on CityLab: In Columbus, Expectant Moms Will Get On-Demand Rides to the Doctor

Laura Bliss


More on CityLab

The Retail Apocalypse, in 6 Charts and a Map

Store closures are up as online shopping grows—but other measures suggest brick-and-mortar retail is still doing OK.

David Montgomery

The Year of the YIMBY

A milestone upzoning plan in Minneapolis capped a year that saw pro-housing forces duel NIMBYs in cities nationwide.

Kriston Capps

When a Jail Becomes a Homeless Shelter

King County, Washington’s plan stoked concerns about the link between homelessness and incarceration. Local leaders say they have a moral obligation to do what they can.

Hallie Golden

How the Tuberculosis Epidemic Influenced Modernist Architecture

Light, air, and hygiene were not just aesthetic preoccupations of the early Modernists: They were the best treatment for tuberculosis at the time.

Elizabeth Yuko

5 Ways to Recycle Christmas Trees

They don't all have to go into the chipper.

Linda Poon


What We’re Reading

A millionaire paid Jews to move to a small town in Alabama. Now, a couple struggle with their choice. (Washington Post)

Roommates wanted. Trump supporters need not apply. (New York Times)

A California city plans to shred years of police records before a new law makes them public (Vox)

San Francisco added 6,500 residents, 2,200 homes in 2018 (Curbed SF)

“I feel invisible”: Native students languish in public schools (New York Times)


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. a photo of the First Pasadena State Bank building, designed by Texas modernist architects MacKie and Kamrath. It will be demolished on July 21.
    Design

    The Lonely Death of a South Texas Skyscraper

    The First Pasadena State Bank, a 12-story modernist tower inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, has dominated this small town near Houston since 1962.

  2. The legs of a crash-test dummy.
    Transportation

    A Clue to the Reason for Women’s Pervasive Car-Safety Problem

    Crash-test dummies are typically models of an average man. Women are 73 percent more likely to be injured in a car accident. These things are probably connected.

  3. a photo of graffiti in Bristol, UK
    Life

    What Happens to ‘Smart Cities’ When the Internet Dies?

    In the fictional dystopia of Tim Maughan’s novel Infinite Detail, our dependence on urban technology has been suddenly severed.

  4. A NASA rendering of a moon base with lunar rover from 1986.
    Life

    We Were Promised Moon Cities

    It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

  5. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

×