Also: What urban sprawl is doing to your commute, and the evolution of the school librarian.
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What We’re Following
Columbus, since 1942: Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, there’s a small Hoosier city that brims with main-street appeal. But Columbus, Indiana, is also a Midwestern mecca for Modernism—a world-class repository of daring mid-century design. “It’s striking to see so much clean geometry in a single place that isn’t Chicago or New York or Miami,” writes CityLab’s Kriston Capps. This unassuming Smallville boasts a major collection of parks, plazas, and buildings from architects like I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, and Harry Weese.
The city just kicked off Exhibit Columbus, a biennial festival launched to celebrate the city’s design pedigree, which runs until December. The festival doesn’t just elevate the city’s architectural landmarks—it also invites up-and-coming architects to respond with their own pavilions, interventions, and activations. By doing so, Exhibit Columbus turns a lens around on architecture and itself, giving some hard thought about the social factors that shaped its design. Kriston reports: Columbus, Indiana, Brings Modernism Down to Earth
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Big WPA Energy
The Democratic presidential candidates are set to talk about climate change for a total of seven hours on CNN tonight. They’re likely to get into the nitty-gritty details on what counts as a Green New Deal, the environmental package boosted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But the new GND awareness campaign from the New York congresswoman gives credence to an old political truism: Voters want a poster, not an etching.
If the posters feel familiar at first glance, you’re not imagining it. The chunky all-caps type, the emphasis on places of natural beauty, and even the color palettes evoke the series of posters produced by the previous New Deal: the Federal Art Project, which was part of the Works Progress Administration. CityLab Senior Editor Amanda Kolson Hurley talked to the design team behind the new posters: What’s the Deal with AOC’s Retro-Style GND Posters?
What We’re Reading
NTSB: The Tesla in the 2018 California crash had Autopilot engaged (Reuters)
Inside the shadowy think tank pushing to kick 3.1 million people off food stamps (Vox)
How a Trump tax break to help poor communities became a windfall for the rich (New York Times)
Are we overestimating how much trees will help fight climate change? (Undark)