Also: America’s most endangered historic places, and remembering Walt Whitman’s ode to Manhattan.

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What We’re Following

Long haul: Americans move a lot less than they used to. In fact, fewer than 10 percent of people changed their residence in 2018, marking the lowest rate since the Census Bureau started tracking mobility. Many economic explanations come to mind as to why people might be more locked in place: lack of job opportunities, a shortage of affordable housing, and less variety in salary across cities.

But a new study by the Federal Reserve finds that emotional and psychological factors may also come into play. The study even puts a price on these factors, calculating people’s “willingness to pay” for staying in place. In one example, researchers found that people would forgo a 30 percent pay raise to stay close to family and friends. As CityLab’s Richard Florida writes, “Moving is about more than finding a job or a more affordable home; it’s a highly personal decision with deep psychological costs.” Today on CityLab: Why Some Americans Won’t Move, Even for a Higher Salary

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Chinese Tourism to U.S. Cities Takes a Hit From Trade Wars

Travel from China to the U.S. fell for the first time in over a decade. That could mean money lost for big cities as well as smaller places near national parks.

Linda Poon

The 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America (This Year)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2019 list of imperiled buildings, neighborhoods, and districts reveals the threats that older places face.

David Dudley

Drinking Water Is Staying in Pipes Longer, and That’s a Problem

Shrinking cities can have their drinking water sit in pipes longer than desired, leading to high levels of metals, bacterial growth, and other problems.

Nancy Love, Richard J. Jackson, and Shawn P. McElmurry

Modi's New Challenge Is Embracing Urbanization

His expansion of welfare benefits has won him votes from rural citizens—but if the prime minister wants to build a “new India,” he must focus on cities.

Reihan Salam

See a Parking Violation? Issue a Ticket From Your Phone

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

Andrew Small


To Wit

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth. While transcendental poetry might evoke pastoral scenes, the Long Island native was often inspired by urban life. (He even wrote an ode to the Brooklyn Ferry.) “Mannahatta,” a poem from Leaves of Grass about life on the other side of the East River, perhaps best captures the intricate ballet of the city’s streets:

The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form’d, beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,

Trottoirs throng’d, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and shows,

A million people—manners free and superb—open voices—hospitality—the most courageous and friendly young men,

City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!

City nested in bays! my city!

Read the full poem here.


What We’re Reading

Madrid could become the first European city to scrap its low-emissions zone (The Guardian)

The California housing crisis is generational warfare (Slate)

New York transit edges into a world without MetroCards (Wired)

State transportation departments need to give up on cars (Curbed)

Convincing people to live greener lives makes them less likely to support real climate policy (Fast Company)


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