Also: Why Chicago’s train tracks are on fire, and federal transit funding is set to dry up in 2021.

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What We’re Following

Keep Austin old: Though it often feels like Austin, Texas, has been overrun by tech- and taco-loving youth, the city is a magnet for older people, too. So when Megan Kimble moved to Austin and felt disappointed by its “half hype, half real” ethos, she decided to get to know the city better through people who had been there a while. She volunteered with a nonprofit that helps older residents age in their homes and communities, assisting them with home repairs, doctor visits, and social gatherings.

For the latest installment in CityLab’s Finding Community series, Kimble explains how this experience revealed parts of the city she didn’t have access to otherwise—including that come-as-you-are weirdness she’d heard so much about. “As I meet more people of all ages, I start to appreciate this easygoing openness, often on display in the quieter, unheralded corners of Austin,” she writes. Today on CityLab: How to Build a Multigenerational City

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

In Case of Polar Vortex, Light Chicago’s Train Tracks on Fire

Thanks to extreme cold hitting the Midwest, Chicago is lighting the Metra commuter train rails on fire to keep the steel from contracting.

Sarah Holder

Federal Transit Funding Is on Track to Dry Up in 2021. Yes, Cities Are Worried.

The gas tax hasn’t budged since 1992, and highway trust fund is running on fumes. Could a Green New Deal pushed by Congress be a fix?

Laura Bliss

Electric Scooters Sent Nearly 250 Riders to L.A. Emergency Rooms Last Year. Is That a Lot?

A UCLA study tracked a year of injuries from e-scooter use in two Southern California hospitals. How serious a safety risk are they?

Sarah Holder

An Old Louis Sullivan Bank Tower Becomes an Ambitious Hotel

A husband-and-wife historic restoration team in St. Louis has injected new life into a local landmark built by the “father of skyscrapers.”

Lauren Walser

A Small Island Town Prepares for a Major Earthquake

Vashon Island is just a few miles from Seattle. But if “the big one” hits, the community expects to feel a world away.

Hallie Golden

City Hall to the White House: Can’t Get There From Here

Before Bill de Blasio and Eric Garcetti decide to run, they ought to look back on Lindsay and Yorty in 1972.

Todd S. Purdum


Don’t Have a Meltdown

A picture of cars shoveled out of the snow.
Don't touch my cone, buddy. (Elise Amendola/AP)

With winter bearing down on cities across the U.S., we can’t help but think of this story from last winter about the etiquette of shoveling out parking spaces:

As soon as he was old enough to hold a snow shovel, Adam Leskow remembers his father telling him the rules: Once you shovel out your car, your parking space is yours until the snow is off the streets.

“But what if someone takes your spot?” the younger Leskow would ask his dad.

That just didn’t happen—a good neighbor wouldn’t steal your spot. “He didn't condone violence,” says Leskow, now 34 and still living in the Boston neighborhood where he grew up. “But he was clear that this was an utter sign of disrespect that you didn’t do.”

Read it here: The Psychology of Boston’s Snow Parking Wars


What We’re Reading

As the polar vortex hits the Midwest, cities focus on the vulnerable, homeless (USA Today)

Foxconn may not build its Wisconsin factory after all (Reuters)

Congestion pricing is the only way to fix our broken transportation system (Curbed)

I visited the tallest building in the world, and it was a colossal waste of time (Business Insider)

Amazon has a new strategy to sway skeptics in New York (New York Times)


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