Also: 50 years of chaos at the world’s most famous crosswalk, and Phoenix light rail is under attack.

What We’re Following

Slow and steady: As many American cities search for ways to improve road safety, the quickest answer may be to slow down. From creating slow zones to installing signs that remind drivers to ease up on the gas, the case for a fundamentally slower city is gaining traction. That’s largely because lower speeds offer anyone involved in a vehicle collision—drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians—a much better chance of surviving without sustaining serious injuries.

Speed kills in an abstract way, too. Ever-widening urban highways tear neighborhoods apart in their futile pursuit of quicker commutes for suburbanites, while new technologies like hyperloop tunnels and “flying taxis” promise congestion workarounds for whoever can afford them. By just establishing a more forgiving pace on city streets, though, urbanites can begin to think about making livable places instead of fighting for space. It’s an idea as old as the tortoise and the hare. Here’s my piece today on CityLab: The Case for the Slow City

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Phoenix’s Light Rail Future Is Under Attack

Proposition 105, a ballot measure funded in part by groups tied to the Koch brothers, threatens to halt long-planned extensions to the booming Arizona city’s transit system.

Laura Bliss

Berlin Tiptoes Into Europe’s Car-Free Streets Movement

The German capital will experiment with banning cars on two popular retail streets—but it’s being notably more cautious than its European counterparts.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Everything in Mecca Earns a 5-Star Review

And online reviews of other holy sites are wildly inflated, too.

Tom van Laer and Elif Izberk-Bilgin

A New Approach to Saving Distressed Cities: De-municipalization

Flint, Michigan, offered a devastating lesson in how state takeover of a city can fail. Agency control—“de-municipalization”—is a better idea.

Stephen Eide

Why Everyday Architecture Deserves Respect

The places where we enact our daily lives are not grand design statements, yet they have an underrated charm and even nobility.

Darran Anderson

Something in the Way

Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Fifty years ago today, the Beatles crossed Abbey Road. The photo they took on August 8, 1969, gave rise to the world’s most famous crosswalk—and a traffic nuisance that shows no sign of letting up. For the anniversary, Abbey Road Studios installed a big backdrop of the album cover in its parking lot in an attempt to get people out of the street, but Fab Four fans still showed up to take a few steps across the real deal. CityLab’s Feargus O’Sullivan has the story: On Abbey Road, the Beatles Made a Crosswalk Famous—and a Hot Mess


What We’re Reading

In its largest workplace raid in years, ICE arrested about 680 people in Mississippi (NPR)

Hundreds of U.S. mayors push the Senate to pass gun background check bills (Politico)

Sitting on Rome’s famous Spanish Steps can now cost you a serious fine (Washington Post)

The world is chaos. Escape rooms make sense. (Vox)

Climate change is taking a bigger toll on our food, water, and land than we realized (Mother Jones)


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