Also: How to make bad bus signs better, and when to expect fall foliage across America.

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What We’re Following

Pencils down: Today, students across the globe are skipping school, not because of the good weather, but because of the climate: They’re going on strike. With about 2,500 protests planned in 153 countries, the Global Climate Strike aims to put pressure on governments and businesses to take action to address climate change.

The epicenter of the strike is in New York City, where the United Nations is gathering next week to revisit the goals set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. (Vox) The city’s school district has given permission to its 1.1 million students to skip class and join the protest with an original school striker, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. (Gothamist)

Meanwhile protesters plan to march to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s local congressional office in San Francisco. (USA Today) And in Washington, D.C., students will march to Capitol Hill where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is scheduled to address the crowd. Another student strike is planned for next Friday.

Study up with CityLab

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Pete Buttigieg: We Can ‘Stand Taller’ If We Meet the Climate Challenge

The presidential candidate discusses his climate plan in an interview with CityLab and Climate Desk.

Rebecca Leber

Very Bad Bus Signs and How to Make Them Better

Clear wayfinding displays can help bus riders feel more confident, and give a whole city’s public transportation system an air of greater authority.

Laura Bliss

How to Lead a Parking Policy Reformation

Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

Donald Shoup

Mapping the Changing Colors of Fall Across the U.S.

Much of the country won’t see those vibrant oranges and reds until mid-October, which leaves plenty of time for leaf peepers to plan their autumn road trips.

Linda Poon

For Female Entrepreneurs, a Ground-Floor Apartment Is Key

A new study finds that the home-based businesses of poor women in a Colombian city are much more successful when they are located on the street level.

Richard Florida


Walk in the Park

The creators of Park(ing) Day—John Bela, Blaine Merker, and Matthew Passmore—with artist Reuben Margolin at Park(ing) Day 2007, in front of San Francisco City Hall. (Courtesy of John Bela)

Across plenty of cities today, miniature parklets will sprout up in parking spaces, marking the tradition of tactical urbanism known as Park(ing) Day. But did you know that the roots of the word “parking” actually originates from planting trees?

That’s what one former researcher at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation found out while exploring the history of street trees. In 1870, Congress passed legislation that authorized Washington, D.C. to set aside half the width of the street for “parking on either side of the street,” but at the time, the automobile had not even been invented: They were talking about planting trees and smaller plants to create parks for pedestrians. Imagine if Washington had stuck with that streetscape. Members of Congress might have even had a different attitude about D.C. statehood. From the CityLab archive: A Brief History of Park(ing) Day.


What We’re Reading

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio drops his 2020 presidential bid (NPR)

Jeff Bezos unveils Amazon’s plan to tackle climate change (CNBC)

Airbnb says it plans to go public in 2020 (New York Times)

How do buildings contribute to climate change? (Curbed)

Longtime Streetsblog writer Angie Schmitt signs off (Streetsblog)


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