Also: Where the creative class is growing, and when “big plans” could change the world.

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What We’re Following

Grid lock: Density can define how a city looks, feels, and functions. It’s also a characteristic that tends to get painted in broad strokes. Most discussions of density focus on a single number that represents how many people live in a given area. But that inevitably misses nuances on the ground: What if there’s uninhabited water, mountains, or deserts, and what about airport tarmacs, railroad yards, or central business districts where few people live?

For a more fine-grained look, geographer Garrett Dash Nelson offers up a new visualization that maps density by square kilometer. The result reveals how much density can vary within cities and neighborhoods, and sheds light on where people are living in close quarters, or where other factors are at play. Today on CityLab: What Micro-Mapping a City’s Density Reveals

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

D.C.’s ‘Historic’ Flash Flood May Soon Be Normal

One-hundred-year storms, of the kind that wreaked havoc on the nation’s capital Monday, are expected to become 1-in-25-year events by mid-century.

Linda Poon

8 Charts on How Americans Use Air Conditioning

The U.S. government’s long-running Residential Energy Consumption Survey includes a lot of data on our A/C habits—and some surprises.

David Montgomery

Remembering Phil Freelon, Architect of the Black Experience

The lead architect of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, among many other important cultural buildings, has died at 66.

Kriston Capps

Maps Reveal Where the Creative Class Is Growing

“The rise of the rest” may soon become a reality as once-lagging cities see growth of creative class employment.

Richard Florida

Without Parking, People Who Live in Vehicles Have Nowhere to Go

Thousands of Americans live in vehicles because they have nowhere else to go. Without places to park legally, they suffer through parking tickets, property seizure, and instability.

Graham Pruss


Think Big

The 1909 Plan of Chicago, by Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett. (Harvard Libraries)

Grand plans shaped America’s cities in the late 1800s and early 1900s, giving rise to the related fields of urban planning and landscape architecture. A new exhibition at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum recounts the story of large-scale civic improvement in New York, Boston, and Chicago, with maps, renderings, and photographs from a period when America trusted in urban design to ameliorate pressing social problems. Today on CityLab: When ‘Big Plans’ Could Change the World


What We’re Reading

Cory Booker wants to block the use of Census citizenship data to draw voting districts (NPR)

Who’s using license plate cameras to track cars? Cops, landlords, and your neighbors (Slate)

How trees can provide immediate urban climate action (Curbed)

An open letter to LACMA’s architect: Stop dissing L.A.’s art (Los Angeles Times)

New Orleans music fans cry foul after musician’s arrest on Frenchmen Street (NOLA)


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