Also: Amsterdam will make downtown driving (even) harder, and what climate change could do to cities’ power to borrow money.

What We’re Following

Home court: The Supreme Court is in session starting today, and in addition to the many hot-button issues already on the docket, this term may also test the constitutionality of a powerful affordable housing tool. Property developer plaintiffs have asked the highest U.S. Court to hear Dartmond Cherk, et al. v. Marin County, California, which could mean a definitive ruling on inclusionary zoning.

Just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, the wealthy enclave of Marin County has long been at the forefront of efforts to stop new construction, with opposition to almost any new housing resulting in the highest racial disparities of any county in California. But in this case, the county has a law on the books that requires paying a fee to produce affordable housing, which the Supreme Court could use as a wedge to reshape property rights. “In a twist, Marin County’s extraordinary commitment to NIMBYism may wind up helping the Roberts Court land a haymaker against progressive policies,” writes CityLab’s Kriston Capps. Read his story: Will the Supreme Court Strike Down Inclusionary Zoning?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Amsterdam Will Make Downtown Driving (Even) Harder

Armed with a street-design tool called the knip, the Dutch capital is slashing car access in the city center, and expanding public transit hours.

Feargus O'Sullivan

A Homecoming Through Art for Pittsburgh’s Historic Hill District

Njaimeh Njie’s art series honoring black lives in Pittsburgh’s Hill District emerges as reports show that black lives haven’t mattered much in the city.

Brentin Mock

What Climate Change Could Do to Cities' Power to Borrow Money

Cities rely on municipal bonds to pay for major projects like infrastructure. But financing could get harder as investors increasingly talk about climate risk.

Alex Brown

Paris Has Opened Its First Green Cemetery

The city has devoted a section of its Ivry-sur-Seine cemetery to lower-carbon, chemical-free burials—with wooden grave markers used in place of tombstones.

Clothilde Goujard

The Unnecessary Reinvention of the College Library

While many schools outfit their libraries with 3-D printers, virtual-reality gear, and escape rooms, students would rather just have books (and good Wi-Fi).

Alia Wong


Temporary Measures

(Victoria Milko/CityLab)

For two years, the Myanmar refugee crisis has made the Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh home to more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees. With the crisis showing no sign of abating, aid and relief organizations are finding new ways to manage the long-term needs of the most populous refugee camp in the world.

But the ad-hoc city is still fundamentally temporary. With the Bangladeshi government having banned the construction of permanent housing, one camp is piloting a design for a bamboo shelter, shown in the photo above. It uses a steel frame that can be quickly disassembled and moved, and which could theoretically move with the refugees when they return home. On CityLab: The World’s Largest Refugee Camp Is Becoming a Real City


What We’re Reading

City leaders are off to Copenhagen this week for the C40 climate summit (Curbed)

A glimmer of hope as ridership rebounds for transit systems (Washington Post)

Renters only: These new homes aren’t for sale (NPR)

Transportation secretary Elaine Chao favored Kentuckians in meeting with officials seeking grants (Politico)

What a fight over the local library in rural Arkansas taught me about my neighbors’ go-it-alone mythology (New York Times)


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