Also: America’s best guerrilla bus stop benches, and the gig economy’s storage hustle.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.


What We’re Following

Let’s get outta here: Whether you’re fleeing the city or heading downtown for fireworks, the Fourth of July comes with a traditional travel warning: Prepare for traffic. This year, a record number of 41.4 million people will be traveling by car in the U.S., according to AAA’s forecast. That’s slightly less than half the number who hit the road for winter holidays, but travel times are still expected to triple for drivers in New York City, Boston, and Seattle on Wednesday and Thursday. Google Maps has a handy guide to when traffic historically has been the worst for Independence Day in 25 major U.S. cities.

CityLab Daily is off for the rest of the week, but we’ll send links to the latest CityLab stories on Friday. And keep your eyes peeled later today for the latest edition of MapLab, our newsletter for map lovers and mapmakers. This week, MapLab explores partisan gerrymandering and the squirrels of Central Park (subscribe here).

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

Take a Seat: 5 Brilliant Bus Stop Fixes

When cities fail to provide basic amenities like seats at bus stops, community organizations step in with creative DIY fixes.

Linda Poon

The Gig Economy’s Storage Hustle

A startup called Neighbor bills itself as an “Airbnb for storage,” allowing hosts to rent out their empty sheds, closets and basements for other people’s stuff.

Sarah Holder

Why Public ‘Breathing Rooms’ Are Coming to the West Coast

In Seattle, five public buildings will get filtration systems to keep the air inside clean when wildfire smoke affects the city.

Hallie Golden

The Spike in Air Pollution From July 4 Fireworks, Visualized

There will be more than 16,000 fireworks displays across the U.S. this Fourth of July—enough to register a dramatic (if temporary) effect on air quality.

David Montgomery

The Restaurant at the Center of a Gentrification War

Rising housing costs have triggered a wave of displacement in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico. But residents are finding creative ways to resist.

Martha Pskowski

What We’re Reading

The Trump administration’s effort to include a census citizenship question has been foiled, for now (New York Times)

Why homelessness is going down in Houston but up in Dallas (Texas Tribune)

Salt Lake City has one of the lowest rates of income inequality in the U.S., but it also ranks dead last for economic equality for women (The Guardian)

Why aren’t there more Bay Area barbecue spots? High costs, logistics, and NIMBYs (San Francisco Chronicle)

What’s it like to run 90 miles around the Beltway on the hottest day of the year? “Terrible.” (Washington Post)

Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A diamond-like glass-walled church building, lit up from the inside.

    How a Drive-In Megachurch Became a Catholic Cathedral

    Designed by an acclaimed architect for a famous televangelist, a unique church in Southern California has been transformed.

  2. Life

    Why Are America’s Three Biggest Metros Shrinking?

    After a post-recession boomlet, the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago areas are all seeing their population decline.

  3. a map comparing the sizes of several cities

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  4. black children walking by a falling-down building

    White Americans’ Hold on Wealth Is Old, Deep, and Nearly Unshakeable

    White families quickly recuperated financial losses after the Civil War, and then created a Jim Crow credit system to bring more white families into money.

  5. People walk along a new elevated park that winds through a historic urban area.

    How to Build a New Park So Its Neighbors Benefit

    A new report from UCLA and the University of Utah surveys strategies for “greening without gentrification.”