Also: A black-led food co-op grows in Detroit, and Tokyo offers free food to ease subway crowding.
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What We’re Following
Cyber-sprawl: It’s 1995. You’ve just purchased a Windows laptop, and thanks to the miracles of dial-up, you’ve joined 16 million other users on the World Wide Web. But where do you go? While AOL and Netscape helped early users find their way around the net, it was Geocities that gave them a home. It did that by building “neighborhoods”—communities based on interests and hobbies, where users picked empty lots to build out their web presence and engage with their neighbors.
Today on CityLab, writer Tanner Howard makes the case for how Geocities suburbanized the internet. Populating cyberspace reflected some of what happened in three-dimensional space, with users settling virtual land like 19th-century pioneers and recreating 20th-century suburban sprawl before the turn of the millennium. “People were surfing to find content, and these spatial metaphors helped them find what they were looking for,” says one history professor who has researched the nascent web hosting site. Read Tanner’s story: How Geocities Suburbanized the Internet
More on CityLab
Long before Chuck E. Cheese, there was “pizza-and-pipes,” a dining experience that combined eating pizza with a professional organ performance. Believe it or not, this strange combo of cheese and keys used to be quite common: After silent-film-era theater organs fell out of use, some venues repurposed these gigantic instruments into pizzeria entertainment in the 1970s and 1980s, with more than 100 such establishments in the U.S. at its peak. A craze just a generation ago, there are now only three restaurants left, playing tunes ranging from “The Entertainer” to Frozen with family-friendly pizzazz, cheesy pun intended. Today on CityLab: Remembering the Dining Fad of “Pizza and Pipes”
What We’re Reading
Stuck and stressed: the health costs of traffic (New York Times)
Postmates’s quest to make a delivery robot people don’t hate (Fast Company)
Why the U.S. Census starts in Alaska’s most remote, rural villages (NPR)
Colleges that rushed to fund e-scooter startups don’t love them on campus (Bloomberg)
The Supreme Court will hear a case on New York City’s handgun restrictions (Washington Post)