Also: A crowdfunding battle to stop a homeless shelter, and the perils of letting your cat outdoors.

What We’re Following

Highways, to hell: Urban highways are the roads that urbanists love to hate. They isolate neighborhoods, increase air and noise pollution, and pummel property values. The 1950s-era planning blunders have plowed through communities of color, Olmsted-designed parks, and more. In recent years, the Congress for New Urbanism has sought to hasten their demise by putting a handful of highways in the crosshairs, ranking the 10 freeways most ripe for removal and outlining the fights to replace them with some other urban amenity.

Replacing I-980 with a surface boulevard could bridge the gap between Oakland's neighborhoods. (ConnectOAKLAND, for the Congress for the New Urbanism)

This year, the highways on the hit list face different stages of fresh energy or exhausting delay. In Oakland, the city’s mayor is supporting a pitch to turn an 18-lane interstate that divides neighborhoods into a walkable surface boulevard that bridges the gap. An expressway through the French Quarter of New Orleans has a coalition of residents and business leaders calling for its redevelopment. Meanwhile, an elevated interstate in Denver is set to widen even further. Beyond the top 10, three other freeways have graduated on—in Seattle, Rochester, and Detroit—with commitments to remove or dismantle already underway. CityLab’s Claire Tran has the rundown: Here Are the Urban Highways That Deserve to Die.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

These Dueling NIMBY GoFundMe Campaigns Are Peak San Francisco

A debate over a proposed shelter in a wealthy neighborhood has become a proxy war between billionaires and the merely affluent over the city’s homeless crisis.

Sarah Holder

How the 1 Percent Is Pulling America’s Cities and Regions Apart

America’s growing geographic divide derives from economic inequality, especially the tremendous gains of the 1 percent.

Richard Florida

IRS Audits Target the Wealth-Depleted Southern Black Belt

The racially discriminatory IRS audits revealed in a new report are yet another way of depleting and plundering the wealth of southern black families.

Brentin Mock

How Bad Is It to Let Your Cat Outside?

Your adorable house cat is also a ruthless predator. A conservation biologist makes the case for keeping cats indoors, or at least on leashes.

Andrew Small

Millennials Are Rejecting America’s All-or-Nothing Drinking Culture

They might be getting sick of booze, but they’re not giving up on it completely.

Amanda Mull


What We’re Reading

Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago mayor, making her the first African American woman to lead the city (Chicago Tribune)

Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police. It inspired his mother to run for office. (Vox)

Heaven or high water: selling Miami’s final 50 years (Popula)

Historical public transit plans vs. their modern equivalents, mapped (The Guardian)

Al Gore is near the end of his quest to fight climate change. Nina Barrett just got started (Washington Post)


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