Also: Mayors escalate their shutdown plans, and why paper maps still matter.

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What We’re Following

Target spotting: Before Amazon said it was coming to Queens, there was Target. For more than two years, a local activist group called Queens Neighborhoods United has been trying to stop the development of a Target-anchored mall in Jackson Heights. Their fight centers on a question of zoning, which currently only allows for residential use or small retail and service shops.

The developers contend that the Target in question is a “small-format” store rather than a big-box commercial store, but with neighborhood rents already rising, corporate arrivals like Target and Amazon allow fears about gentrification to loom large. “If this development happens, the displacement of our community will most likely increase,” said Bianca MacPherson, a lifelong resident of Jackson Heights and a QNU member. “The small businesses that are already struggling won’t be able to survive.” Today on CityLab: The Battle for Queens, New York, Is Not Just About Amazon

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

‘This is a Man-Made Disaster’: Mayors Escalate Their Own Shutdown Plans

Hundreds of mayors gathered in D.C. heard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s pitch to end the shutdown. And they floated new ideas for taking matters into their own hands.

Sarah Holder

London’s Mayor Campaigns on Rent Control, But He Can’t Do It Alone

Sadiq Khan’s re-election bid starts with a power move that could change London’s housing market—but only if Parliament wants it to.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Why Paper Maps Still Matter in the Digital Age

If you want to really learn your way around a new place, print trumps digital options.

Meredith Broussard

The Long Lines for Women’s Bathrooms Could Be Eliminated. Why Haven’t They Been?

It’s been more than 30 years since states started trying to achieve “potty parity,” but many queues are still unequal.

Joe Pinsker

The Quiet Ways Automation Is Remaking Service Work

Workers may not be replaced by robots anytime soon, but they’ll likely face shorter hours, lower pay, and stolen time.

Sidney Fussell


Drive Me Crazy

A map of where Americans drive to work alone
Source: Karen King, U.S. Census 2017 American Community Survey (David H. Montgomery/CityLab)

From a nationwide view, the story of America’s commuters is pretty simple: About 75 percent of people drive cars to work all by themselves. The map above, produced by CityLab’s David Montgomery, shows how driving alone to work varied across metropolitan statistical areas in the 2017 American Community Survey, ranging from 50 percent to 90 percent of a region’s commuters. Driving alone serves as a proxy measure for sprawl in metro areas; biking, walking, or riding public transit is shaped mostly by what sort of city people live in, from dense metropolises to college towns. But there’s some sleepier trends to notice also, such as how carpooling is more common in tech hubs, or how working from home now outnumbers pedestrians and cyclists. CityLab’s Richard Florida takes a look at how the commute to work reveals America’s great divide.


What We’re Reading

“It’s not a wall,” but steel slats and barbed wire roil a border town (New York Times)

The battle for New Orleans public schools (Next City)

How Gillette’s founder dreamed of a car-free, moneyless metropolis (The Guardian)

Congress’s new transportation leader wants to make a deal (Curbed)

Berkeley’s new regulations on disposable foodware are the country’s strictest (San Francisco Chronicle)


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