Also: Startups want good transit, and London’s “Tulip” won’t bloom after all.

What We’re Following

Full moon fever: When Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind on the moon’s surface 50 years ago tomorrow, lots of people were already dreaming about staying. Scientists and sci-fi writers imagined igloo-shaped buildings, underground cave habitations, lunar farms, and all manner of moon bases. From a technological perspective, there was nothing stopping humanity from following the Apollo missions with a permanent settlement.

(NASA, Kitmacher, Ciccora artists)

Of course, none of this has come to pass: Living on the moon remains an impractical fantasy. But NASA has been polishing its plans to return to the moon and establish a more lasting foothold, along the lines of Antarctic research facilities or the International Space Station. And private tech companies are plotting ways to extract profits from the Earth’s astral companion. CityLab’s David Montgomery talked to scientists and science-fiction writers about why our moon-town dreams haven’t come true so far, and what these settlements might be like if they ever do. As one astrobiologist tells him, “A lot can happen in several thousand years”: We Were Promised Moon Cities

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Startups Are Abandoning Suburbs for Cities With Good Transit

A new study finds that new business startups are choosing cities with good public transportation options over the traditional suburban locations.

Richard Florida

The Surprisingly High-Stakes Fight Over a Traffic-Taming ‘Digital Twin’

Why are some mobility experts spooked by this plan to develop a data standard that would allow cities to build a real-time traffic control system?

Laura Bliss

The Lonely Death of a South Texas Skyscraper

The First Pasadena State Bank, a 12-story modernist tower inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, has dominated this small town near Houston since 1962.

Kriston Capps

Why London's Proposed 'Tulip' Tower Won't Bloom

Sadiq Khan used his discretionary powers to cancel the Norman Foster design. Does this signal a tougher attitude to flashy development?

Feargus O'Sullivan

How the Volkswagen Beetle Sparked America’s Art Car Movement

When the Beetle was first introduced, Americans had never seen anything like it. Among art car enthusiasts, it became the ideal canvas for self-expression.

John A. Heitmann



What We’re Reading

It’s the record-breaking overnight temperatures that could make this heat wave deadly for cities (Curbed)

Why Bill de Blasio is facing criticism for the Eric Garner’s case (Vox)

Here’s the most complete map so far of Amazon’s camera surveillance partnerships with local police (BuzzFeed News)

Op-ed: How drivers can beat Uber at its own game (New York Times)


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