Also: A guide to successful place-based economies, and where solar batteries are taking hold.

What We’re Following

Don’t sneeze: It looks like New York may finally become the first city in the United States to introduce congestion pricing on its streets. The New York Times reports that state leaders have reached a consensus to put electronic tolls in place for drivers entering the most heavily jammed parts of Manhattan. Politically speaking, the idea has come a long way since 2008, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg floated a version of congestion pricing that was seen then as a non-starter.

Now, the city’s transportation crisis may have finally tipped the scales, getting Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to agree that road fees are the way to fund the MTA’s big subway fix. Lawmakers in Albany think they can broker a deal before the state budget deadline on April 1, but they haven’t ironed out the specifics yet—and that’s where imposing road fees gets complicated. But as you can see from past CityLab coverage below, it’s an idea that transportation wonks have been waiting on for a while. Stay tuned for more from CityLab’s Laura Bliss on what’s different this time around.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

A Guide to Successful Place-Based Economic Policies

A new Upjohn Institute report documents four key pillars that can guide successful place-based economic development and local job growth.

Richard Florida

Solar Batteries Are Winning Over German Homeowners

Solar home storage has morphed from a niche product in Germany to one with enormous mainstream potential.

Paul Hockenos

Gerrymandering, or Geography?

Computer-based techniques can prove that partisan advantage isn’t an accident.

Sam Wang

How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

Richard Florida

Thanks to Duke, Durham's Light Rail Dream Is All But Dead

After 20 years of planning, the North Carolina Research Triangle’s signature transit project is fighting for its life. Why did Duke University pull its support?

Jane Stancill


The Look of Mormon

(© Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

When you think of Rome’s churches, you probably picture medieval mosaics, Renaissance frescoes, and vast Gothic cathedrals. But a new temple erected by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers something different—a style more reminiscent of Art Deco, and, somehow, unmistakably Mormon, despite the olive trees and piazza. CityLab’s Amanda Kolson Hurley takes a look at the history of the many styles of LDS Church architecture to find out why, inside and out, these gleaming temples “express a sense of confident mystery as well as any buildings in the modern world.” Read: Understanding the New Mormon Temple in Rome


What We’re Reading

Too poor to play: children in social housing blocked from communal playground (The Guardian)

Can a starter-home design contest replenish Chicago’s affordable housing stock? (Chicago Reader)

At play in the fields of bored (The American Scholar)

Homeless, living in a tent, and employed: The changing face of homelessness in the U.S. (Washington Post)

I took Amtrak instead of flying and it made me want to die a little bit (Jalopnik)


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