Also: The thing mayors really want, and the great upzoning debate.

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What We’re Following

Where have you bin: They say never let a crisis go to waste, and in Japan, that’s almost literal. After a chemical weapons attack in 1995, trash cans disappeared from many public spaces. It’s a common precaution taken for a period of time after a terrorist incident, but in Japan, most of the bins never returned. Despite initial fears of an uptick in litter, the move seemed to gel well with a general culture of tidiness in Japanese urban life.  

“Mangetsu-man” (Mr. Full Moon), a costumed mascot with a full moon for a head, cleans Tokyo’s Nihonbashi Bridge in 2014. (Issei Kato/Reuters)

The bins are starting to return, though, partly to accommodate tourists. Residents of Japan produce half as much domestic waste per-capita as Americans, and they’ve found ways to dispose of paper towels, cigarette butts, and yes, dog poop. As trash cans return, they’re being designed with security in mind—and if you’re walking the streets of Tokyo, you might even spot Mangetsu-man, an anti-litter superhero who’s dispatched to keep things clean. Today on CityLab: Carefully, Japan Reconsiders the Trash Can

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Great Upzoning Debate

Controversial new research has kicked off a war of words among urban scholars over the push for upzoning to increase cities’ housing supply.

Richard Florida

The One Thing That’s on Mayors’ Priority Lists Nationwide

At the National League of Cities conference, parks and recreation was the priority for mayors. And for mayors in most of the U.S., housing is key, too.

Brooks Rainwater and Anita Yadavalli

What if More People Could Issue Parking Tickets?

Washington, D.C., considers training a group of residents to give tickets for some parking violations. Would it make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists?

Andrew Small

Bringing New Life to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lost Designs

“I would love to model all of Wright's work, but it is immense,” says architect David Romero. “I do not know if during all my life I will have time.”

Nicole Javorsky

A New Way of Seeing the Global Migration Crisis

A book on global migrants and refugees by novelist Teju Cole and photographer Fazal Sheikh explores the agency and humanity of the displaced and dispossessed.

Tanvi Misra


What We’re Reading

HUD moves to roll back protections for homeless transgender people (Politico)

New York has a supervillain pulling emergency brakes and ruining commutes (Jalopnik)

The Boring Company has found its first customer: Las Vegas (The Verge)

How industrial design became a model for the modern home (Curbed)

Opinion: America’s cities are unlivable. Blame wealthy liberals. (New York Times)


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