Also: Why car-free streets will soon be the norm, and don’t alienate the suburbs on climate.

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

Turns of phrase: Road safety advocates often argue that the media tends to blame victims when cars collide with pedestrians and cyclists, and that this has an effect on the way the public thinks about responsibility on the road.

A recent research paper finds that hunch can be backed up by the data. Researchers analyzed the language used in a sample of articles about crashes and found that the stories frequently obscured the driver’s role or shifted blame to the vulnerable road user traveling by bike or on foot. And coverage rarely included broader context about road conditions or public policy, instead treating them as “isolated incidents.” In some cases, it’s the difference between using language like “accident,” which suggests it was unavoidable, versus “crash.” CityLab’s Richard Florida has the details: How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Shifts Blame Away From Drivers

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

Brooks Rainwater

Don’t Alienate the Suburbs

They can help cities fight climate change.

Paul J. Maginn and Roger Keil

Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

David Zipper

A Museum's Pledge to Women Artists Draws Skepticism

The Baltimore Museum of Art will only purchase artwork made by women in 2020. That won’t do much, if anything, to change the balance of representation in its collection.

Kriston Capps

Oh, What Fun It Is to Ride

Garland, ribbon, and bows on Harrison Street in Chicago. (Bike Lane Uprising)

Deck the bollards! A holiday vigilante (or a few) has decorated the protective infrastructure of some bike lanes in Chicago, like the one pictured above. Block Club Chicago spotted multiple bike lanes adding some festive visibility to these normally drab pylons with garland, tinsel, ribbon, bows, and even Christmas ornaments. When we asked the folks at Bike Lane Uprising for their thoughts on who might be behind this tactical urbanist cheer, they told CityLab, “Must be Santa!”

From the CityLab archives: How to Bike Home Your Christmas Tree in 11 Simple Steps

What We’re Reading

What cities would look like if they were only lit by stars (Wired)

Should we still be building single-family homes? (Curbed)

What it will take to raise New Orleans-area levees (Times-Picayune)

No more school districts! (Democracy Journal)

Homelessness is not inevitable and can be solved—these cities show us how (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. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  2. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

  3. photo: Bernie Sanders

    Bernie Sanders Wins Endorsement From the Internet’s Premier Urbanist Meme-Makers

    In backing the Vermont senator, the popular Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens” is leveraging some offline political clout.

  4. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  5. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.