Also: The “Airbnb of cars” gets heat from the rental car industry, and new ideas for Paris’s outdated infrastructure.

What We’re Following

Monarch-itecture: In June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to decide whether the monarch butterfly will be protected under the Endangered Species Act. No matter what the official decision is, it’s clear the insects already face an array of existential threats. One such threat is habitat loss due to pesticides and urban development—and there’s actually quite a bit that architects and cities can do to reverse some of this damage.

St. Louis, for example, has dedicated acres of public space to making monarch-friendly gardens, while also hosting free seed giveaways and plant sales to get the community involved. A new exhibit in New York, meanwhile, shows how a building wall can act as a vertical meadow and butterfly sanctuary. “Every stem adds up, so by planting even small gardens, urban areas can have great collective impact,” says one education coordinator for the Monarch Joint Venture, which wants to encourage architects and planners to “design against extinction.” Today on CityLab: Making Urban Space for Monarch Butterflies

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Bay Area’s Spy Camera Ban Is Only the Beginning

Oakland and San Francisco may become the first cities to ban use of facial recognition technology by government entities.

Sarah Holder and Tanvi Misra

Paris Takes Another Turn at Reinventing Old Sites

After a criticized first installment, the city's design competition has a wider talent pool and a fairer distribution of commissions to redesign urban sites.

Feargus O'Sullivan

The ‘Airbnb of Cars’ Gets Heat From the Rental Car Industry

Peer-to-peer sharing services that let owners rent out their vehicles are a focus of concern from traditional car rental companies, who see disruption ahead.

Laura Bliss

Voters Chose to Decriminalize a Drug. Now the City Faces a Choice.

A ballot measure directs the city to decriminalize magic mushrooms. Officials must now decide how—or if—they plan to make that happen.

Lindsay Fendt

The Uberization of Everything

The ride-hailing company's IPO is a bet on a future in which the global market for on-demand services explodes.

Alexis C. Madrigal


Boston (Not So) Common

(Image credit: Library of Congress)

Boston readers, we’re hosting an event for you later this month on the secret history of Boston’s suburbs. Join us Wednesday, May 29, at 730 Tavern, Kitchen & Patio in Cambridge to hear CityLab Senior Editor Amanda Kolson Hurley tell stories about the nearby communities featured in her new book, Radical Suburbs.

While suburbs get stereotyped as dull, two places featured in her book—Six Moon Hill and Five Fields—were far from it. Amanda will join a moderator from DigBoston in a conversation about the local history and what today’s suburbs can learn from these past examples. Doors open at 6 p.m. and program begins at 6:30 p.m. We’ll leave time to network and make new friends! Tickets are free, but registration is required here.


What We’re Reading

Uber hasn’t been worth this little since July 2015 (Quartz)

Perception of homeless people depends on how close to the street they are (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Why not me?” Big-city mayors watch with envy as Buttigieg surges (Politico)

A coding bootcamp for cash-strapped Appalachians didn’t meet former students’ expectations (Postindustrial)

Why is sanitation still a privilege, not a right? (Fast Company)


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