Also: When new aquariums struggle, and could semantics stop a Texas bullet train?

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What We’re Following

Ground up: Five years ago this week, a switch in the water supply for Flint, Michigan, triggered a devastating series of problems for the city. It led to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease and a surge of toxic lead caused by infrastructure that corroded from the mistreated water. A lesser-known impact: The water disaster and its aftermath also made things difficult for small businesses, as cafes and restaurants struggled to accommodate patrons safely.

Today, many residents still depend on bottled water and serious health questions remain unresolved, but the city has quietly seen an entrepreneurial resurgence. Flint’s attempt to transition from a company town to a hotbed for startups might seem improbable, but doing business in the city post-water crisis has been part of the recovery process itself. “A successful entrepreneur has to have what some call grit, some call resilience,” says Lev Hunter, who founded The Daily Brew, a coffee and tea startup, in 2017. “You’ve got to have resilience if you’re dealing with a water crisis.” Today on CityLab: The Startups Born of Flint’s Water Crisis

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Texas High Speed Rail Faces a New Threat: Semantics

A private company plans to break ground on a bullet train between Houston and Dallas in 2019. But opponents of the project have a new argument.

Laura Bliss

In Praise of a Higher Minimum Wage

Raising the minimum wage helps low-paid workers without damaging the broader economy, the authors of two new research papers find.

Richard Florida

Bursting the Aquarium Bubble

Aquariums might seem like underwater wonderlands, but they often struggle to succeed as economic development tools for their host cities.

Samantha Muka

The Enduring Beauty of the Hudson River

Even in the 1800s, painters were meditating on its natural beauty in the face of human exploitation.

Jeanne Haffner

The Woman Who Elevated Modern Poland’s Architecture

A new exhibit displays Jadwiga Grabowska-Hawrylak’s talent, which strove beyond the postwar standards of mass-production and prefabrication in her home country.

Anthony Paletta


Ride in Peace

(Cambridge Bicycle Safety)

Last Friday, longtime D.C. bike advocate Dave Salovesh, 54, was struck and killed by the driver of a stolen van on a busy main thoroughfare, where a protected bike lane has been planned since 2017. Salovesh’s death has galvanized local activists in the District, but it’s also brought attention to unprotected bike lanes around the world, with the #RedCupProject.

Red cups (or sometimes, tomatoes) placed along the edge of a bike lane demonstrate where painted lanes don’t protect someone riding a bike from vehicles as effectively as physical barriers—even tiny ones. It’s the kind of direct action that Salovesh was known to deploy on streets where he saw an urgent need for more safety features. Back in 2012, CityLab alum Sarah Goodyear explained how red Solo cups make the case for separated bike lanes.

CityLab readers: Did you participate in the #RedCupProject today? Send us a photo and tell us about why you chose that particular bike lane at hello@citylab.com


What We’re Reading

How California’s high-speed rail project was “captured” by costly consultants (Los Angeles Times)

These are the U.S. cities with the worst air pollution (Quartz)

San Francisco had an ambitious plan to tackle school segregation. It made it worse. (New York Times)

How cities plan to save the census (Next City)

Mapping America’s wicked weather and deadly disasters (Washington Post)


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