Also: Where blue-collar workers fare better, and the resegregation of Baton Rouge’s public schools.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.

***

What We’re Following

End zone: In the wake of urban renewal in the 1960s, neighborhoods gained a greater say in deciding their own destinies. And for the past 40 years, residents with greater social power have been incredibly effective at resisting new development. Now, faced with rising levels of housing affordability and inequality, many cities are trying to encourage more density by reforming restrictive zoning codes. It’s a concept that still faces long political odds, but recent examples in Minneapolis and Seattle have shown that, with some patience, it’s possible.

It comes down to a simple idea: By allowing more kinds of housing, more of it will get built, and costs will come down. But the plans can take years to pass, and the process can be incredibly divisive. Some ambitious efforts have failed after facing resistance from vocal blocs of residents. “There’s this belief that if you just get rid of single-family zoning, it’s the Mecca,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tells CityLab. “And I just I think you’ve got to do more to really make it work right.” CityLab’s Sarah Holder and Kriston Capps have the story: The Hottest Trend in Housing Policy? Make Cities Denser

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Blue-Collar and Service Workers Fare Better Outside Superstar Cities

How much money do workers have after paying housing costs? For working-class and service workers in superstar cities, the affordable housing crisis hits harder.

Richard Florida

An Illustrated History of New York City’s Playgrounds

There are more than 2,000 playgrounds spread across New York City. Ariel Aberg-Riger explores the creative and political history of concrete jungle’s jungle gyms.

Ariel Aberg-Riger

Tenants to Landlord: You’re Not Scanning My Face

The landlord of a rent-stabilized apartment in Brooklyn wants to install a facial recognition security system, sparking a debate about privacy and surveillance.

Tanvi Misra

The Resegregation of Baton Rouge Public Schools

Residents of the majority-white southeast corner of Baton Rouge want to make their own city, complete with its own schools, breaking away from the majority-black parts of town.

Adam Harris

How the Ancient Maya Adapted to Climate Change

Instead of focusing on the civilization’s final stages, looking at Mayan adaptations shows how their communities survived for as long as they did.

Kenneth Seligson


What We’re Reading

Inside the long war to protect plastic (Center for Public Integrity)

Tuesday could be the beginning of the end for Philadelphia’s soda tax (New York Times)

GM’s car-sharing service, Maven, is pulling out of eight cities, including Chicago and New York (The Verge)

The cities funding legal defense for immigrants (Next City)

Interactive: Where Democrats and Republicans live in your city (FiveThirtyEight)


Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to hello@citylab.com.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Perspective

    Untangling the Housing Shortage and Gentrification

    Untangling these related but different problems is important, because the tactics for solving one won’t work for the other.

  2. A cyclist rides on the bike lane in the Mid Market neighborhood during Bike to Work Day in San Francisco,
    Perspective

    Why We Need to Dream Bigger Than Bike Lanes

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  3. a photo of police and residents of Stockton, CA, in a trust-building workshop
    Equity

    A Police Department’s Difficult Assignment: Atonement

    In Stockton, California, city and law enforcement leaders are attempting to build trust between police and communities of color. Why is this so hard to do?

  4. a photo of the Maryland Renaissance Festival
    Life

    The Utopian Vision That Explains Renaissance Fairs

    What’s behind the enduring popularity of all these medieval-themed living-history festivals?

  5. Navigator

    How to See Fall Colors Without a Car

    Americans often hit the road to see fall foliage, but it can be difficult to take the same trip without a car. These places make it a little easier.

×