Also: It’s getting riskier to bike and walk after dark, and America has a Halloween costume equity gap.

What We’re Following

Eyes on the treats: If you’re heading out trick-or-treating tonight, here’s an experiment to try: Count how many doors you knock on and how many steps it takes to get to each one. As you navigate the sidewalks, stoops, driveways, and porches in a neighborhood, you’re seeing what’s known to urbanists as the “trick-or-treat test.”

The test is a way to measure what kids know pretty intuitively: Where the design of streets and homes is optimal, the greatest amount of candy can be collected. But it also shows that walkability is just as much about where it is pleasant and interesting to stroll as it is about taking the shortest possible path. In this CityLab classic from 2012, city planner Brent Toderian describes why “Halloween can still be a catalyst for a much-needed discussion on what great neighborhoods … are made of.” Read: Why the “Trick-or-Treat Test” Still Matters

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

America Has a Halloween Costume Equity Gap

Not all parents can—or want to—invest time and resources into ever-more-elaborate observances of this holiday. Should it matter?

K.A. Dilday

It's Getting Riskier to Walk and Bike After Dark

The last decade has seen a gruesome rise in nighttime traffic fatalities for walkers and bike riders, with no conclusive explanation.

Laura Bliss

How Lebanon’s Protesters Have Reclaimed Public Space

Anti-government protesters set up a cooperative tent city in downtown Beirut, where a generation ago, redevelopment pushed out ordinary people.

Kareem Chehayeb

For a Greener Death, Skip the Tombstone?

At Paris's first green cemetery, wooden grave markers will replace headstones because of their lower carbon footprint.

Clothilde Goujard


Skeleton Crew

(Luis Cortes/Reuters)

Here’s an idea to scare drivers into slowing down: Put a skeleton in the road. This skull-and-bones art installation in the Tláhuac borough of Mexico City is not another clever pothole protest, as some observers had speculated. Instead, a cultural collective called Indios Yaocalli built the installation to honor the tradition of commemorating Day of the Dead with papier-mâché skeletons. The group built a few skeletons to look like they were bursting out of the street using rubble they spotted on a construction site in the Santa Cecilia neighborhood, reports El Universal.


What We’re Reading

Welcome to “cancer alley,” where toxic air is about to get worse (ProPublica)

She was a nurse for 20 years. Now she’s living on the Houston streets (Houston Chronicle)

Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto reach tentative deal on smart-city development (The Logic)

Why some police departments are leaving federal task forces (The Marshall Project)

Americans trust local news. That belief is being exploited. (New York Times)


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