Also: Does gentrification give children anxiety? And the best cities to live in based on salaries and cost of living.

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What We’re Following

Full steam ahead: At 114 years old, the Nevada Northern Railway is the best-preserved short-line railroad in the United States. Based in the remote town of Ely, Nevada, it offers an experience for the most hardcore of train enthusiasts: driving a real-live steam locomotive along 14 miles of track in a cartoonishly perfect Wild West landscape. Earlier this summer, CityLab’s West Coast Bureau Chief Laura Bliss got to pour the coal into the fire box of an 85-ton, 10-wheeled locomotive, known variously as the “Queen” or the “Ghost Train of Old Ely.”

Alex Kniess/CityLab

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, the signature infrastructure achievement of the 19th century. To mark the occasion, Laura went looking for some historic perspective on the transportation news cycle. While today’s mobility innovations run on “an engine of techno-speculation” and promise transformation that’s forever just around the bend, it’s worth looking back at an emerging technology that “actually changed everything,” Laura writes. Read about her day as an engineer: This Is What a Transportation Revolution Looks Like

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Does Gentrification Give Children Anxiety?

Neighborhood change brings both positive and negative effects on existing residents. Among the latter: a newfound link to anxiety and depression in kids.

Kriston Capps

Where Is the Best City to Live, Based on Salaries and Cost of Living?

Paychecks stretch the furthest in smaller cities for most workers, but techies continue to do best in larger, more expensive cities.

Richard Florida

A Controversial Scooter Data Tracking Program Gains Traction

As more cities adopt a controversial scooter tracking system pioneered by Los Angeles, concerns about rider data privacy are spreading.

Laura Bliss

Living Near Trees, Not Just Green Space, Improves Wellbeing

New research finds that, when a neighborhood’s green space leads to better health outcomes, tree canopy provides most of the benefits.

Tom Jacobs


Black Rock City Planning

I picture an economist showing up at Burning Man and saying: “Oh, look! This is the miracle of the invisible hand. All of this stuff happens by self-interest, and it just magically appears.” And there’s this huge amount of planning that actually is what’s required beneath it to make the order emerge.

The New York Times took a Nobel-winning economist to Burning Man to investigate: Is this bacchanal a model of urban planning?

From the CityLab archives: The Amazing Bureaucracy of Burning Man


What We’re Reading

Democratic presidential candidates’ climate plans lack vision for urban transportation (Streetsblog)

The human cost of Amazon’s fast, free shipping (ProPublica)

Uber wants to redeem itself. Does the public even care? (Vox)

Climate gentrification is coming to a community near you (Mother Jones)


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