Also: Manhattan’s opulent new mini-city, and how density can deter growth.

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What We’re Following

The price is fright: When mass transit systems experience a decline in ridership, they face a dilemma: If they don’t raise revenue, how can they fund fixes for deteriorating service? And in an age of ubiquitous ride-sharing and cheap gas, what is a bus or subway ride really worth? That’s what New York’s MTA had to grapple with last month when it raised fares amid a potential death spiral for ridership.

There’s no such thing as a perfect transit fare, since any increase will push people to choose other, cheaper options. There are ways to strike a balance, though: Consider what residents are able to pay for a ride and how to improve the process of actually paying that fare. But beware of focusing too heavily on one issue—even the best fare won’t make up for sub-par service. Today on CityLab: What’s the Perfect Price for Public Transportation?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Inside Hudson Yards, Manhattan’s Opulent New Mini-City

With super-tall glass towers, a luxury mall, and a ’grammable urban spectacle, Hudson Yards is very much a development of its time.

James S. Russell

How Density Can Deter Growth in America’s Largest Metros

A new report examines why the largest U.S. metros actually face population decline.

Richard Florida

What the Youth Climate Strikers Want to Change

“If the adults are going to screw up our entire future, we have to do something about it,” said one young activist joining the global Youth Climate Strike.

Nicole Javorsky

Sorry, Houseplants Don’t Really Purify the Air in Your Home

The science is clear: Even the most enthusiastic indoor gardeners don’t have enough vegetation to make a difference in air quality.

Robinson Meyer

To Avoid Climate Disaster, Urban Transportation Must Change—Now

Cities have a key role to play in confronting climate change, and it starts with shared mobility—and taking back the streets from the private car.

Robin Chase


Bauhaus Books

Marcel Breuer’s Atlanta-Fulton Central Library is undergoing a facelift. (Cooper Carry)

When the Whitney Museum of American Art opened in September 1966, its distinctly Brutalist design made an impression on Carlton Rochell, the director of Atlanta’s public library system. A few years later, Rochell asked architect Marcel Breuer to bring something similar to Atlanta. The result became the legendary Bauhaus architect’s final project: the Atlanta-Fulton Central Library. Last summer, after much debate, the city committed to upgrading Breuer’s building, with an expected reopening in May 2020. CityLab’s Mark Byrnes reports: How Atlanta Got—and Decided to Save—Its Brutalist Central Library

And check out “Building Bauhaus,” our series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the art school that changed the world.


What We’re Reading

Governor Cuomo warns of a 30 percent fare hike if congestion pricing fails (New York Times)

Welcome to birdpunk (Audubon)

The crash of the Boeing 737 Max is a warning to drivers, too (Slate)

House transportation committee’s probe of Trump Organization might make passing an infrastructure bill tough (NPR)


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