Also: What if you could bank at the Post Office? And where HOAs are popular.

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What We’re Following

Gray area: When it comes to flood infrastructure, lawmakers and engineers tend to lean toward “gray” solutions—pipes, levees, drainage channels, and retention basins. But two years after Hurricane Harvey deluged Houston, “green infrastructure” is gaining traction. As Texas invests in defenses against future floods, environmental advocates see a chance to leverage the benefits of natural features that are good at absorbing water, like prairies and sand dunes. That could offer a chance to buy up vacant lots or parking lots and restore them to natural landscape to reduce flood risks.

“That actually can do a lot for helping to manage the ‘flashy’ parts of flash floods,” says one advocate. “And you can scale that strategy out to a city and a regional level.” Still, Texas is better known for exploiting natural resources rather than preserving them, so it’s an open question whether it can get enough gray and green infrastructure in place to meet the challenge of the next big storm. Today on CityLab: ‘Green’ Flood Resilience Tiptoes Forward in Texas

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

For ‘Banking Deserts,’ There Might Be Hope at the Post Office

Postal banking—an idea from the early 20th century—is ripe for revival in urban and rural America, say advocates like the U.S. postal worker union.

Sarah Holder

HOAs Are Popular Where Prejudice Is Strong and Government Is Weak

A new study finds that higher percentages of wealthy, Asian, and white residents live in HOAs; and people pay a premium of about 4 percent for homes in HOAs.

David Montgomery

Escaping Reality Through the TWA Hotel

It’s now a fantasy-steeped hotel honoring the airport design of a bygone era, but the TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK Airport was never quite real.

Mark Byrnes

Defending Against Displacement in Latin America’s Gentrification Capital

As rising housing costs trigger a wave of evictions in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico, neighborhood residents are finding creative ways to resist.

Martha Pskowski

Trump's State Visit to London Got Weird Fast

The U.S. president began his U.K. trip by insulting London Mayor Sadiq Khan; soon the Trump baby blimp will fly again.

Feargus O'Sullivan


Golden City

(Madison McVeigh/CityLab)

For as long as there have been movies, there have been fictional visions of tech-forward futures. But few cities on film have inspired the awe of urbanists like Black Panther's Golden City, the capital of Wakanda, devised by production designer Hannah Beachler. In this special bonus episode of Technopolis, hosts Jim Kapsis and Molly Turner talk with Beachler about the role tech played in her meticulously crafted urban vision. Beachler, who won the Academy Award for her work in the film, helps us understand why the Wakandan city feels so right—and what she thinks some real-life tech-led urban designs are getting wrong. Listen here: Can Wakanda's capital city teach us to build better cities in the real world?

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts / Stitcher / Google Play / Spotify


What We’re Reading

Athens’ buried rivers could see the light of day (The Guardian)

San Francisco’s Castro district may get historic designation. Here’s why that matters for “gayborhoods.” (Next City)

I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle. (Vox)

The U.S. lags in buildings made to withstand earthquakes. Why? (New York Times)


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