Also: The dream of “universal rent control,” and Chernobyl doesn’t have an Instagram problem.

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What We’re Following

Hard case: One of the honors of working in city government is that the job is close to members of the public. But it’s also part of the risk, especially in the wake of acts of violence that target city workers. After the mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal complex, where a coworker killed 12 people, city leaders are grappling with how to make these very public workplaces more secure.

Providing extensive safety features can be costly for cash-strapped cities, and their effectiveness can seem murky given how statistically rare these attacks are. There’s also the concern that locking down city buildings undermines their democratic purpose. “I want people to be able to walk into my office and sit down and [tell me] about their headaches and heartaches,” one city manager tells CityLab’s Laura Bliss. “I also need to make sure we’re not putting ourselves at undue risk.” Read her story here: The Hard Questions About Staying Safe in City Hall

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Dream of ‘Universal Rent Control’ Is at Hand in New York

The state will boast the “strongest tenant protections in history.” But critics in the real estate industry warn that the bill could backfire.

Kriston Capps

To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

French geographer Cristophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

Ian Klaus

No, Instagram Is Not Ruining Chernobyl

A (mostly mythical) surge in visitors to the nuclear disaster site raises a question: Can mass tourism spoil a place that’s already famous for being uninhabitable?

Feargus O'Sullivan

Sex Work Is a Hot and Messy 2020 Political Issue

This week, New York legislators introduced bills to effectively decriminalize sex work. The topic has become a campaign issue in the 2020 presidential election.

Amir Khafagy

The Empty Spaces That Elevate London’s Brutalist Masterpiece

A new plan aims to fill in some of the Barbican Estate’s loftier spaces and alter the original footprint. Will the integrity of the historic complex be at risk?

Feargus O'Sullivan


Little Boxes

Steve Bronstein/Getty

Don’t miss CityLab senior editor Amanda Kolson Hurley on the latest episode of Nice Try!, a podcast from Curbed that’s examining attempts at utopian placemaking. The show looks at the promise of America's postwar suburbs as exemplified by Levittown, and how they failed to integrate. Amanda discusses the Philadelphia suburb of Concord Park, which aimed to create a more racially inclusive version of the suburbs. It’s is one of the communities featured in her new book, Radical Suburbs, which you can read an excerpt of here.


What We’re Reading

How activists became “accidental planners” in Berlin (Places Journal)

Cities’ climate change plans are wildly underestimating emissions (Curbed)

In New York City, Uber and Lyft drivers now make an average of $16 per trip (BuzzFeed News)

He tried to plug a wasp nest and ended up starting California’s biggest wildfire (New York Times)

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s nonprofit tried to transform cities with startups (Recode)


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