Also: Unpacking a debate on California’s vacant housing, and why are kids obsessed with garbage trucks?

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.


What We’re Following

Office space: Less than a year after Amazon backed out of its second headquarters deal with New York City, the mega-online retailer is signing a new lease for 335,000 square feet in Hudson Yards, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday. With just over 1,500 jobs promised by 2021, the company will bring a much smaller workforce to Manhattan’s newest neighborhood instead of the 25,000 jobs promised for Amazon’s HQ2 in Long Island City. Facebook is also loading up on office space at the site.

For critics of the initial HQ2 deal, the news has been cause for a victory lap because the new offices are coming to the Big Apple without any special tax credits. But the Manhattan office will hardly bring the kind of jobs that an HQ2 had promised—jobs that many of the potential beneficiaries in Queens and the Bronx said they wanted. And take note: The Hudson Yards site that will host Amazon’s new office isn’t without its own publicly funded financial incentives, as CityLab’s Kriston Capps reported.

In other updates: Earlier this year, Capps reported on a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of inclusionary zoning, Dartmond Cherk v. Marin County. Today, the Supreme Court today declined to hear the case on the powerful affordable housing tool.

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

Fix California’s Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

As a controversy over vacancy in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

Benjamin Schneider

Why Are Kids Obsessed With Garbage Trucks? An Investigation

For some kids, the weekly trash pickup is a must-see spectacle. Parents, children, waste-management professionals, and experts on childhood all offer theories as to why.

Ashley Fetters

Are Cities Paying for Expensive Jails by Force-Filling Them?

While many cities are using incarceration alternatives, some smaller cities and rural areas are building—and filling—costly new jails, new research shows.  

Chris Mai and Jasmine Heiss

As Olympics Loom, Paris Frets About the 'Amazon-Airbnb Effect'

The home-rental company inked a massive deal to sponsor the Olympics until 2028—over fierce objections from the host city for the 2024 Games.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Take a Bauhaus

Markus Schreiber/AP

As the Bauhaus centennial anniversary year comes to an end, Google Arts & Culture has an online exhibition about the pervasive influence of the German Modernist art school. From boxy buildings and sleek furniture, to typefaces and colorful shapes, the page explores how traces of the design school still show up in our everyday lives. You can even get advice on how to dress yourself and decorate your place like a Bauhaus student would. If you can never get enough Bauhaus, revisit CityLab’s Building Bauhaus series.

What We’re Reading

Cities are set to miss 80 percent of their 2020 emission reduction goals (Quartz)

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world to build housing. Here’s why. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Drivers refuse to put down their phones. People keep dying. (Bloomberg)

Do homeless people have the right to sleep on the street? The Supreme Court may decide. (Curbed)

New York’s high-rise jails: What could go wrong? (The Guardian)

Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  2. Equity

    What Happened to Crime in Camden?

    Often ranked as one of the deadliest cities in America, Camden, New Jersey, ended 2017 with its lowest homicide rate since the 1980s.

  3. photo: People embrace after a tanker truck drove into protesters on the I-35W bridge on May 31 in Minneapolis.

    Why Are Protesters Getting Run Over?

    Drivers have repeatedly targeted George Floyd demonstrations with vehicle ramming attacks — a lethal terror tactic fueled in part by far-right memes.

  4. A mural on the side of a building shows a man standing in a city street.

    The Polarizing Mayor Who Embodied ‘Blue-Collar Conservatism’

    Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia’s mayor from 1972 to 1980, appealed to “law and order” and white working-class identity—a sign of politics to come, says the author of a new book.

  5. A Seoul Metro employee, second left, monitors passengers, to ensure face masks are worn, on a platform inside a subway station in Seoul, South Korea.

    How to Safely Travel on Mass Transit During Coronavirus

    To stay protected from Covid-19 on buses, trains and planes, experts say to focus more on distance from fellow passengers than air ventilation or surfaces.