Also: Turning golf courses into housing, and a card game for urban planning.

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What We’re Following

Absent note: For students traveling to school in Baltimore, merely getting to class can involve a harrowing journey through high-crime areas. It’s even common for a bus to get diverted due to a murder on the street. “I’m kind of desensitized to it—I mean, I don’t like to think of myself like that, but I’m so used to it,” an 11th-grade student from Frederick Douglass High School told CityLab’s Tanvi Misra. “Every day I’m scrolling down my timeline, and that’s all I see: death, death, death. It just makes me feel like the city is never going to get better.”

The toll this takes on students is real. According to a new study from Johns Hopkins University, students who walk or take public transit through high-crime areas were more likely to miss class. In many cases, that’s compounded by the fact that Baltimore students often have brutal commutes on not-so-reliable public transit before the school day even begins. For leaders who want to address the “hidden educational crisis” of chronic absenteeism, it pays to understand the full effects that difficult, even dangerous commutes to school can have on students. Read Tanvi’s story: For Students in Baltimore, the Bus to School Can Be a Scary Ride

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

Why Hong Kong Is Claiming Golf Greens for New Housing

In a controversial decision, the government has announced it will take part of a golf club and redevelop it as housing, much of it public.

Mary Hui

China’s Huge Number of Vacant Apartments Are Causing a Problem

One-fifth of China’s urban housing stock has been bought up and left vacant, and it’s adding to the country’s housing woes.

Linda Poon

A Card Game Designed to Help Urban Communities Plan for the Future

Imaginable Guidelines gives players a shared vocabulary and base of knowledge with which to talk about their city.

Jennifer Hattam

My Newspaper Died 10 Years Ago. I’m Worried the Worst Is Yet to Come.

I was the editor of the Rocky Mountain News when it folded in 2009. A decade later, I’m concerned that more local journalism will suffer the same fate.

John Temple

Remembering the Dining Fad of 'Pizza and Pipes'

In restaurants in Arizona, Illinois, and Wisconsin, the 1970s and ’80s craze for “pizza and pipes” lives on.

Elizabeth Yuko

You Can Moquette If You Try

(Transport for London)

Ever noticed how bright, busy, and downright weird the seat patterns can be on public transit? Bus, train, and subway seats have to do a lot more than look attractive. They also have to stay fresh-looking while thousands of people sit on them each day. The resulting patterns may go mostly unnoticed, or they can inspire a small but devoted fan base.

CityLab recently asked readers to send their favorite public transit seat patterns from around the world. A deluge of replies rolled in, with pictures from Istanbul to Oslo, Kyoto to Pittsburgh. CityLab contributor Feargus O’Sullivan rounded up the submissions and compiled the four criteria for creating a good seat cover. Read the story: The Good, Bad, and Ugly Public Transit Seat Covers of the World

What We’re Reading

Two African-American women are headed for a runoff in Chicago’s mayor race (New York Times)

Las Vegas isn’t clearing its homeless encampment—it’s making it permanent (Next City)

Why did California build such tall bridges over its high-speed train tracks? (Slate)

As seas rise, homes have lost about $15.8 billion in value from Maine to Mississippi (CBS News)

Why white school districts have so much more money (NPR)

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