Also: How the disappearing towns of Japan struggle to survive, and what’s behind the wave of urban protests?
What We’re Following
Here’s the deal: On Thursday, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill that would dedicate billions of dollars to energy retrofits for America’s public housing. The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would commit up to $180 billion over 10 years to upgrading 1.2 million federally owned homes.
That might sound like a lot of green, but it’s actually a two-in-one deal: The bill would address the federal government’s dilapidated buildings that already have very costly deferred maintenance backlogs, while also reducing those buildings’ energy consumption. Another easy-to-overlook feature: It would repeal a law that currently caps the number of public housing units at the level it was at in 1999. CityLab’s Kriston Capps has the story: Inside the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act
More on CityLab
Everywhere a Sign
Whether you like it or not, advertising signage has always been part of urban life. Fly-by shots of cities may present the “blank facades of skyscrapers,” but at the street level, “cities are a riot of lettering and symbols,” Darran Anderson writes. These images and symbols—the hanging signs of London, the neon lights of Las Vegas and Hong Kong, and even ads projected on the side of the Eiffel Tower—have aroused both curiosity and irritation. Even if we try to shut it out, advertising can become part of a city’s identity, as brands fade into our urban past. On CityLab: The Irresistible Visual Power of Urban Advertising
What We’re Reading
New Jersey fined Uber $649 million for saying drivers aren’t employees (New York Times)
Will Kansas City become the first major U.S. city with free bus service? (Kansas City Star)
Cities and states take up the battle for the open internet (Next City)
Venice got hit by a massive flood, again (Reuters)
Why street vendors make cities feel safer (Curbed)