Paige Peterson/Courtesy of Mainframe Studios

Also today: The British towns that aren’t breaking up with Europe, and it’s time to start eating roadkill.

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What We’re Following

Iowa canvas: Ask someone to name a U.S. city with a booming arts scene, and one answer you may not hear is Des Moines, Iowa. (Unless they’re running for president.) The state capital has long been the realm of insurance workers and ag execs who flee the desolate city center after business hours, but the city now boasts the largest nonprofit arts space in the country. As it builds out, Mainframe Studios already has a long waitlist for affordable artist workspaces in its 160,000-square-foot former insurance call center, in a downtown that’s doubled in population since 2007.

Mainframe’s First Friday events draw hundreds of attendees each month. (Sean Farley/Courtesy of Mainframe Studios)

Now art is part of the strategy to keep the city affordable. “Every day, we see headlines about artists being priced out, and it’s even happening here in little ol’ Des Moines,” said Siobhan Spain, director of Mainframe. “We want to learn from what’s going on in other cities, and we think we’ve created a model that approaches the problem in a proactive way.” Today on CityLab: Des Moines Wants to Be the Affordable City for Artists

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The British Towns That Aren't Breaking Up With Europe

After World War II, town twinning was an expression of European solidarity. Even as Britain exits the E.U., many in the U.K. want the tradition to continue.

Hettie O'Brien

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

The Return of London’s 1930s Futuristic Subway Car

The London Transport Museum is bringing three charming-but-antiquated Q Stock carriages back to life.

Feargus O'Sullivan

How to Push Kid-Friendly Transit in a Rapidly Urbanizing City

An advocate and mom in Dakar, Senegal, talks about elevating a child-focused policy agenda, in a city that’s still struggling with basic infrastructure.

Molly McCluskey

It’s Time to Start Eating Roadkill

Alaskans are eager to salvage meat from deer and moose struck by vehicles. Why won’t it catch on in the Lower 48?

Ella Jacobson


What We’re Reading

A Green New Deal for cars might be easier than you think (The Week)

Atlanta considers covering highways with parks (Wall Street Journal)

Here’s the most affluent town in each state (Business Insider)

The rise and fall of China’s cycling empires (Foreign Policy)

Judge blocks New York City law aimed at curbing Airbnb rentals (New York Times)


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