Also: The particular creativity of dense urban neighborhoods, and how Helsinki built “book heaven.”

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What We’re Following

Ghost busters: Halloween is one of the year’s more creative opportunities to express your love (or hate) for city policy, and this year, some of the most popular selections involved contemporary trends in transportation: Plenty of people went as scooters and bus-only lanes, while the perennial subway maps or train line get-ups made the rounds.

For my vote, the best costumes got regionally specific to great effect, like the Pittsburgh sinkhole bus. Or the head-chopping “Sexy BART murder gate” that Sam Bertken and Kelly Akemi Groth of San Francisco dressed as, shown below. Groth tells CityLab that, later at a bar, “Some woman gave us $2 for fare.”

(Alex Shorter)

And it just wouldn’t be Halloween without a classic Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses couples costume. Katie Shaw Thompson and Parker Thompson, founding organizers of transportation advocacy nonprofit Elgin Bike Hub in Illinois, dressed this year as the urbanist rivals.

(Parker Thompson)

But what would you dress up as if you were an architect? A building, of course. That’s what happened as the Council on Tall Urban Buildings and Habitat celebrated its 50th anniversary in Chicago this week, with a skyscraper costume ball.

A guest from the design firm Gensler dressed as its Shanghai Tower (Spot My Photos by Purple Photo Co.)

CityLab’s Amanda Kolson Hurley rounded up “who wore it better,” comparing each outfit with its real life counterpart. Check it out: A Costume Ball Where Architects Dress as Buildings

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Particular Creativity of Dense Urban Neighborhoods

A new study finds evidence that Jane Jacobs was right about the dynamic and innovative qualities spurred by living in dense, urban neighborhoods.

Richard Florida

Did Body Cameras Backfire?

Body cameras were supposed to fix a broken system. What happened?

Sidney Fussell

How Helsinki Built ‘Book Heaven’

Finland’s new national library has a lofty mission, says Helsinki’s Tommi Laitio: It’s a kind of monument to the Nordic model of civic engagement.

David Dudley

The Planning Czar Who Tried, and Failed, to Integrate the Suburbs

Ed Logue was a powerful agent of urban renewal in New Haven, Boston, and New York City. But his plan to build low-income housing in suburbia came to nought.

Lizabeth Cohen



What We’re Reading

Gotham is only New York if you’ve never been to New York (Esquire)

What Alphabet got right in Toronto that Amazon didn’t in Queens (Bloomberg)

Providence, Rhode Island, shows other cities how environmental justice gets done (Grist)

After ICE came to Morton, Mississippi (New Yorker)

America’s rapid suburban expansion into the wilderness is putting wildfire fighters’ health on the line (New York Times)


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