Also: Upzoning won’t save you, and you, too, can be a winter cyclist.

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What We’re Following

Missouri loves company: This week, a St. Louis think tank unveiled a proposal to combine the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County into a new local government: a metropolitan city. The proposal, which could see a statewide vote as soon as 2020, would essentially do away with the present city government and transform St. Louis into the 10th largest city in the United States, with 1.3 million people. This kind of city-county merger has been done before—in Nashville, Indianapolis, and Louisville, for example—but it’s a rare move, because it’s so difficult to pull off.

Battle lines are already being drawn. Some worry that a merger would dilute local African American political power. Others fear that a statewide vote lets rural voters determine the fate of urban and suburban residents. But proponents say consolidation would extend the reach of economic development and allow for structural changes to the region’s troubled justice system. Today on CityLab: St. Louis Weighs a Historic Merger

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Ben Carson Poised to Assert New Control Over New York’s Housing Plans

An announcement is expected from HUD today about the fate of New York’s troubled public housing agency. It could affect one in 11 renters in NYC.

Kriston Capps

Upzoning Will Not Solve the Housing Crisis

A new study of upzonings in Chicago finds that they led to higher, not lower, local home prices, while having no discernible impact on housing supply.

Richard Florida

Maybe Marilyn Mosby Shouldn’t Have the Power to Prosecute Weed Anyway

Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby is the latest top prosecutor to decide to no longer try weed-related drug cases, but should it be up to them to decide?

Brentin Mock

Solar-Power Benefits Aren’t Reaching Communities of Color

A new study in Nature Sustainability finds racial and ethnic disparities in rooftop solar adoption, even controlling for income and homeownership.

Amal Ahmed

The Cities Refugees Saved

In the cities where the most refugees per capita were settled since 2005, the newcomers helped stem or reverse population loss.

Tanvi Misra

As Brazil Went, So Did Oscar Niemeyer

The architect’s ability to land big works in his home country before and after his exile speaks to Brazil’s enthusiasm for civic gigantism and Modernism.

Anthony Paletta


Bicycle, Icicle

Studded tires keep Melissa Wenzel going in the snow. (Photo courtesy Melissa Wenzel)

Winter bicycle commuters know you think they’re crazy. And yes, even this week, with wind chills in Minnesota falling below -50 degrees Fahrenheit, they’re still out there. But winter road warriors insist there’s nothing extraordinary about biking with a few snowflakes and the risk of frostbite. With the proper clothes, equipment, and attitude, you could stay warm and safe on a bike, too.

Here’s a motivational tip: Don’t think of it as starting in winter, think of it as pushing the boundaries of the seasons you already bike in. CityLab’s David Montgomery spoke with some of St. Paul’s cyclists braving the roads in the middle of a polar vortex: Meet the Fearless Winter Bike Commuters of Minnesota


What We’re Reading

People in Michigan have been asked to turn down the heat at the worst possible time (Business Insider)

Who will benefit from Miami’s new rails-to-trails park? (Next City)

Watch Elon Musk’s highflying 2018 through the 150,000 miles he traveled in a private jet (Washington Post)

On driver pay, Lyft is no better than Uber (Quartz)

San Francisco could be the first to ban facial recognition tech (Wired)


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