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

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Great Divide in How Americans Commute to Work

We are cleaving into two nations—one where daily life revolves around the car, and the other where the car is receding in favor of walking, biking, and transit.

Richard Florida

Will Cities Pay Federal Workers During the Shutdown?

San Jose is offering its airport workers loans during the shutdown. More cities are following.

Sarah Holder

A Black-Led Food Co-op Grows in Detroit

The Detroit People’s Food Co-op will control food production and dissemination to bring good food and wages to an underserved community.

Brian Allnutt

The Controversial Renovation of Montreal’s Beloved Public Park

Parc-Jean Drapeau’s redesign attempts to balance priceless serenity and outdoor art with profitable festivals. Many Montrealers are skeptical.

Tracey Lindeman

Tokyo’s New Strategy for Easing Subway Overcrowding: Free Soba, Tempura

To ease the morning rush traffic, the city’s Metro will reward riders with buckwheat noodles and tempura for traveling outside peak hours.

Linda Poon

What the Camp Fire Revealed

Two months after disaster struck, the recovery in Paradise, California, is harder for some than for others.

Annie Lowrey


Piping Hot

An illustration shows pizza and music notes.
(Madison McVeigh/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)


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