Also: The Midwest’s mayor-for-president, and a garden for victims of gun violence.

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What We’re Following

Sound practices: From grand echoey atriums to candle-lit bars, some of the most common kinds of gathering spaces can be alienating for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Architects don’t always consider how to make buildings and businesses with the needs of people who need to listen closely, discern sign language, or read lips to communicate. That’s where “DeafSpace Design” comes in, focusing on practices that consider how balanced lighting, acoustic design, and physical footprints can make communication easier in public spaces.

“One of the big buzzwords right now is ‘universal design,’” says the director of campus design at Gallaudet University, a liberal arts college for deaf students. “I think in some ways deaf space actually is a critique or criticism of the idea of universal design—that everything fits all.” Today on CityLab, Sarah Holder reports on how DeafSpace Design envisions better, more accessible cities, and brings a new element of empathy into architecture. Read her story: How to Design a Better City for Deaf People

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Why the Midwest’s Mayor-for-President Is Focused on the Future of Work

In a crowded Democratic field, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is honing in on automation of jobs as a key 2020 presidential issue.

Sarah Holder

Chicago Will Have a Black Mayor Despite Its Shrinking Black Population

Despite the fact that Chicago has been losing African-American residents at record rates, the city will elect a new black mayor for the first time since 1983.

Brentin Mock

To Fight a Pipeline, Live in a Tree

For the past year, environmental protesters have led an “aerial blockade” of tree-sitters along a proposed natural gas pipeline in the Appalachian Mountains.

Christine Grillo

A Garden to Mark the Toll of Gun Violence—and Help Survivors Heal

A memorial park planned for New Haven, Connecticut, will be both a place to grieve and a call to action.  

Mimi Kirk

When a Shopping Mall Goes to the Dogs

A Twin Cities mall invited people and pets to walk indoors each weekend—but the event’s popularity was also its undoing.

Cinnamon Janzer


Building on the Past

Berke’s addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center connects to I.M. Pei’s original building. (Deborah Berke Partners)

For over 30 years, architect Deborah Berke has left a distinguishing modern mark on older buildings, designing interventions that give new uses and new energy to old spaces. The Queens-raised architect has been the dean of the Yale School of Architecture since 2016, having taught at the school since 1987. That combination of teacher/practitioner gives her a particularly valuable perspective on the state of architecture in America today. CityLab’s Mark Byrnes caught up with Berke to discuss her work, her industry, and the cities she loves working in, which tend to be mid-sized American cities:

I probably spend more time in places like Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus, and Lexington than any other New Yorker you know. I like those people and that part of the country, they feel good to me. [Doing] meaningful projects in mid-sized cities, where you really feel that saving an old building or doing an infill project to make a street feel whole again, to change a downtown and restore its vibrancy, is really rewarding.

Read their full conversation on CityLab.


What We’re Reading

What does Lyft’s IPO mean for cities (Curbed)

Amazon’s hard bargain extends beyond New York (New York Times)

Why nearly every automaker is trying to help you not buy a car (Slate)

Struggling U.K. towns to get post-Brexit funding (BBC News)

What happened to the man cave? (Vox)


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