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
More on CityLab
Ride in Peace
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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)