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
More on CityLab
Drive Me Crazy
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)