Also: We were promised moon cities, and the future of the city is childless.

What We’re Following

Bank shot: When cities collect tax revenue, they put it into commercial banks that then decide how to make that money grow. But what if cities could make those investments by themselves—in their own communities—and control the banks that manage their money? That’s the idea behind local public banks, and a bill in California proposes letting cities give it a try.

After a Los Angeles campaign pushed for public banking that would support cannabis businesses, a coalition of 10 cities adopted the idea with an emphasis on how it could fund efforts to address affordable housing, inequality, and climate change. “The city is identifying the needs for the community, and they’re turning to the bank to finance those needs,” says one of the legal architects of the legislation. CityLab’s Sarah Holder has the story: Could Public Banks Help California Fund Affordable Housing?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

We Were Promised Moon Cities

It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

David Montgomery

To Save a Neighborhood, Ban a Dollar Store?

Some local governments hope that more grocery stores will blossom in “food deserts” if the number of discount convenience retailers can be limited.

Emily Moon

In Denmark’s Train Dream, the Next Big City Is Only an Hour Away

A newly revived rail plan could see Denmark’s trains catch up with its reputation for other types of green transit.

Feargus O'Sullivan

What Happens to ‘Smart Cities’ When the Internet Dies?

In the fictional dystopia of Tim Maughan’s novel Infinite Detail, our dependence on urban technology has been suddenly severed.

Lee Gardner

A Clue to the Reason for Women’s Pervasive Car-Safety Problem

Crash-test dummies are typically models of an average man. Women are 73 percent more likely to be injured in a car accident. These things are probably connected.

Sarah Holder


Zoomed In

(Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Maybe you’ve visited your local zoo a hundred times, but have you ever looked at the buildings instead of the animals? A new book by architecture professor Natascha Meuser chronicles zoo design and the institutions’ transformation from “a living collection of game trophies, to a museum of live exhibits, to a theme park with a moral mission.” The book explores the ever-shifting relationship between humans and wildlife, and the connection between zoo architecture and the natural environment. On CityLab: What Zoo Design Reveals About Human Attitudes to Nature


What We’re Reading

Climate mayors ask Congress for swifter transportation action (Curbed)

A brutal heat wave is descending on the U.S.—and blackouts may ensue (Slate)

Opioid deaths soared where pain pills flowed (Washington Post)

How public art has become a growth sector for architects (Places Journal)

Where Roe v. Wade has the biggest effect, mapped (New York Times)


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