Also: Where job density is increasing, and how birds and bees survive in the city.

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What We’re Following

Too hot: On its face, historic preservation is all about keeping old buildings intact. In practice, it has something of a reputation for displacement or exclusion, since landmarking a neighborhood can boost housing values and rents. But what if it could be a tool for protecting affordability in a place that’s rapidly gentrifying?

That’s the idea behind a plan to give a historic landmark designation to Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Home to the largest community of Mexican Americans in the Midwest, Pilsen’s cultural vibe and low rents have drawn a wave of newcomers. But even before Forbes declared it one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world, thousands of Hispanic residents had already left.

The city has proposed landmarking Pilsen’s main corridor with a plan that includes affordability requirements, protecting not just buildings (and the area’s famous murals), but also the district’s culture and current residents. “Change is good, and the landmark district is likely good, but it all depends on who is directing that change,” says one longtime resident. On CityLab: Can Historic Preservation Cool Down a Hot Neighborhood?

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

Job Density Is Increasing in Superstar Cities and Sprawling in Others

A study finds job density increased in the U.S. over a 10-year period. But four cities: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, accounted for most of it.

Richard Florida

How Birds and Bees Survive in the City

Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

Ariel Aberg-Riger

No, New York’s New Rent Control Won’t Target Small Landlords

Previously unreleased data shows that large landlords who own multiple buildings have a stranglehold over housing—and evictions—in New York City.

Sophie Kasakove

Can This Flawed Brutalist Plaza in Boston Be Fixed?

The chain-link fences are finally down at Boston’s long-closed Government Services Center, thanks to some clever design updates.

Mark Byrnes

How New York’s Media Covered the Stonewall Riots

Major dailies gave a megaphone to the police, while alternative outlets served as an important platform for those without a voice.

Chad Painter


(Robbi Bishop-Taylor)

Today marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year for folks north of the equator. This fanciful map shows how the setting sun casts shadows across the United States on the solstice, presenting a familiar landscape in a way few have seen before. Using NASA topography data, the map shades in where hills and mountains cast a shadow when the sun is just 1.5 degrees above the horizon. Take a look in this story from the CityLab archives: How the U.S Looks in Shadow on the Summer Solstice

What We’re Reading

Ten cities ask the European Union for help fighting Airbnb expansion (The Guardian)

Slow, empty buses are a huge climate liability (Los Angeles Times)

How Elizabeth Warren would try to ban private prisons (Politico)

Refugees in a Minnesota city face a backlash (New York Times)

Driverless cars are coming. We’ll miss the thrill of the ride. (Vox)

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