Also: Why Americans stopped volunteering, and a model mega-development rises in New York.

What We’re Following

Green with envy: New York City’s High Line has become the blueprint for transforming old infrastructure into new green space. From the Los Angeles River to “The 606” in Chicago to the BeltLine in Atlanta, these ambitious urban projects aim to revitalize neighborhoods that historically had little access to parks. But they also risk replicating one downside of the High Line, which has been criticized for fueling gentrification and driving longtime residents out of the once-affordable neighborhoods along its path.

Some park developers are beginning to realize the need to stabilize a changing neighborhood before breaking ground on new parks. To that end, researchers at UCLA and the University of Utah looked at 27 developments underway in 19 cities to examine whether “greening without gentrification” is possible. The results are a mixed bag, but it’s clear there has been a change in understanding how green space relates to housing development. CityLab’s Laura Bliss has the story: How to Build a New Park So Its Neighbors Benefit

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Why Americans Stopped Volunteering

The terror attacks on September 11, 2001, inspired a national surge in civic spirit. But volunteering rates have been declining over the last two decades.

Linda Poon

Choked by Air Pollution, Krakow Bans Coal From Homes

In a city where coal and wood are commonly used to heat homes, forcing change is a meaningful step to help clear the air—but more challenges remain.

Feargus O'Sullivan

The Trouble With America’s Water

Lead-tainted drinking water is not only a problem in Flint and Newark.

Olga Khazan

Why Essex Crossing Is a Model Mega-Development

With a large share of affordable housing and restrained architecture, the six-acre project seeks to fit into—rather than shake up—New York’s Lower East Side.

James S. Russell

Rikers Was Planned as NYC’s Kinder, Gentler Jail. What Happened?

When Rikers Island jails were designed, critics called them “palaces for prisoners.” New York City is planning replacements, but will they be any better?

Chelsey Sanchez


Off the Walls

Dancers at the Reach rehearse in Studio J, which features crinkle-concrete walls. (Richard Barnes)

Visitors to a new expansion at the Kennedy Center in D.C. are sure to notice one unusual design element: “crinkle concrete.” The material was specifically developed for the project to find ways to use concrete—acoustically and aesthetically—that had not been tried before. CityLab’s Kriston Capps spoke with a project architect about finding new applications for an ancient building material: How Architects Are Making Concrete Look Like Crumpled Paper


What We’re Reading

Uber and Lyft say they don’t plan to reclassify their drivers as employees after the passage of California’s new gig worker legislation (Vox)

Trump officials toured an unused FAA facility in California in search for a place to relocate homeless people (Washington Post)

Delivery trucks are hurting cities. Can making them smaller help? (Curbed)

In an area beset by violence and deportations, Chicago opens a mental health clinic for infants and toddlers (Chalkbeat)

We’re getting these murals all wrong (The Nation)


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