Also: NYC’s next big land grab, and where are the black birders?

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What We’re Following

The curb will be digitized: Ride-hailing cars, delivery trucks, bikes, and scooters are all rushing to claim opportunities wherever the street meets the sidewalk. At the same time, city regulators are racing to adapt to the smartphone-powered present and future of transportation, capitalizing on a valuable municipal resource that previously only offered revenue through analog parking meters and permits.

A wave of software startups has emerged, offering to help cities map and manage the untapped potential of their curb space. These efforts to code the curb could be a boost to municipal budgets, giving cities ways to augment or replace parking revenue. But they run into a very concrete challenge: keeping fine-grained location data private. Even with open data, new questions arise about how to maintain what a public street should be. Read my latest with CityLab’s Laura Bliss: The Race to Code the Curb.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

San Jose: Petri Dish of an American Housing Crisis

As California Governor Gavin Newsom tackles a statewide housing crisis, he’s looking to cities like San Jose to invest in a smorgasbord of potential solutions.

Sarah Holder

Are Playgrounds the Site of New York City’s Next Big Land Grab?

A proposed luxury development in Manhattan has highlighted the murky status of Jointly Owned Playgrounds. Are they people’s parks or possible development sites?

Rick Stachura

Why Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Night Trains

The Swedish government sees this low-cost, environmentally friendly travel option as key to “becoming the world’s fossil-free welfare country.”

Feargus O'Sullivan

Why Trains Are So Much Greener Than Cars or Airplanes

Whether moving freight or people, rail is far more energy efficient and less polluting than other transportation modes. And it could get even cleaner.

Andreas Hoffrichter

Birding Is Booming. So Where Are the Black Birders?

In cities like New York, Seattle, and Duluth, more people across the United States are “birdwatching while black.”

Glenn Nelson


Push Notification

Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Can technology help cities nudge people to live better lives—without things getting weird? The latest episode of CityLab’s Technopolis explores how the popular behavioral science tool known as “nudge” is becoming more prevalent in cities, from tackling signups for food stamps to reducing congestion downtown. Hosts Molly Turner and Jim Kapsis take a look at how apps and cities can help people act on their better intentions by making good choices easier, while respecting people’s privacy. Listen to the latest episode of Technopolis: Nudge City.

Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts / Stitcher / Google Play / Spotify


What We’re Reading

Maps: Where are people most likely to be audited by the IRS? (ProPublica)

Chicago will elect its first black woman mayor, no matter who wins (NPR)

The hidden air pollution in our homes (New Yorker)

As Trump threatens to close the border, experts warn of billions in economic damage (Los Angeles Times)

Podcast alert: Force of Law, a podcast about California’s attempt to reduce police shootings (CALmatters)


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