Also: Let’s talk about zoo design, and the last vape shops in San Francisco.

What We’re Following

Change of place: The changes that gentrification often brings can be plain to see: New businesses replace local standbys; wine bars and coffeeshops bloom in vacant storefronts. But the visible signs of economic shifts in neighborhoods don’t reveal what’s happening inside people’s homes and lives. The conventional wisdom is that the drawbacks of this change, especially the displacement of existing lower-income residents, greatly outweigh the benefits.

But a new paper says that original residents gain more from neighborhood change than the usual narrative lets on. Longtime renters and homeowners who stick around see some benefits from neighborhood economic changes—and so do those who move away. CityLab’s Kriston Capps assesses the study’s claims: The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

What Zoo Design Reveals About Human Attitudes to Nature

Author Natascha Meuser describes zoo architecture as a “masquerade” that borrows from museums, prisons, and theaters.

Taylor Moore

Are These the Last Vape Shops in San Francisco?

The city wants to stop the rise of teen vaping by banning the sale of Juul and other e-cigarettes. It could also mean the end of a particular kind of store.

Sarah Holder

Albuquerque Takes Steps to Meet the Needs of Native American Residents

Albuquerque expands a commission to create better services for Native Americans who count 4 percent of the population but 44 percent of those who are homeless.

Sydney Worth

When an Earthquake Followed a Flood, This Ancient City Disappeared Forever

Two millennia ago, an earthquake liquified the ground beneath an Egyptian port—a fate that could await other cities as sea levels rise.

Parker Richards

Despite Everything, America Remains a Nation of Hot Dogs

July 17 is National Hot Dog Day. Time to celebrate one thing that millions of Americans have in common.

David Dudley


Put on the Map

Raj Chetty at age 9. (Courtesy of Raj Chetty)

In next month’s issue, The Atlantic profiles economist Raj Chetty—a name many CityLab readers know from his work on social mobility in the United States. Last October, Chetty’s team at Harvard published the Opportunity Atlas, which demonstrated the vastly different economic prospects for children born in different neighborhoods.

Now, Chetty’s team is turning that data toward making equality of opportunity a reality, building partnerships with Charlotte, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, and other cities to apply the findings that social scientists articulate in journals out in the real world. “The question with Raj is not if he will win a Nobel Prize, but when,” urban economist Edward Glaeser says in the piece. Read more at The Atlantic: The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream


What We’re Reading

Tesla floats fully self-driving cars as soon as next year. Many are worried about what that will unleash. (Washington Post)

Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. This is how it was saved. (New York Times)

The racist history of tipping (Politico Magazine)

These maps show where urban sprawl is making big storms more deadly (BuzzFeed News)

I’m an engineer, and I’m not buying into “smart” cities (New York Times)


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