Also: Plans evolve for a national public housing museum, and the mobile dead zone on airplanes.

What We’re Following

Place a wager: Since 1980, America has shifted toward a knowledge-based economy that concentrates more people and jobs into a smaller number of leading “superstar” cities. That’s grown economic inequality between metro areas, but new research shows it has also generated another disparity within those places: the wage gap.

As America’s largest metro areas have grown, so has the gulf in pay, with wage growth for the highest-paid workers at roughly triple that for the lowest paid. In some cities, the disparity is even wider. Back in 1980, not a single one of the 10 largest metros in the country was among the most unequal for wages. By 2015, five of America’s 10 largest metros—New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, D.C.—were ranked among the most unequal. CityLab’s Richard Florida has the details: Wage Inequality Has Surged in American Cities

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The National Public Housing Museum Eyes a 2021 Opening

The museum will tell the history of American public housing in a remnant of a 1930s public housing complex on Chicago’s Near West Side.

Zach Mortice

What’s Really Behind the Native American Health Gap?

Melissa Walls of the Center for American Indian Health talks about the lasting health effects of “Indian Relocation” policies of the 1950s.

Linda Poon

The Mobile Dead Zone on Airplanes

Cell reception is bad after boarding because of the way airports are designed.

Christopher Schaberg

Why We Should Stop Conflating Cities With Innovation and Creativity

The language we use to discuss innovation and creativity has such a pro-urban bias that we’ve forgotten these qualities flourish outside of cities, too.

Richard Shearmur


Eyes on the Tweets

In response to our story last week about the D.C. Metro’s plans to sell station naming rights, public transit consultant and occasional CityLab contributor Jarrett Walker offered a useful analogy on Twitter to something more Americans might relate to: driving.

Motorists: Imagine a freeway where every exit is marked not by where it goes, but by the name of some corporation, and the signs keep changing every few years as naming deals expire and corporations merge.  Would that help you find your way around?

Navigation trouble is just one of the potential problems with naming transit stations after companies. Another: They give riders the misimpression that transit doesn’t need public money. Revisit Kriston Capps’ story on “namewashing” with Walker’s imagery in mind.


What We’re Reading

See how the world’s most polluted air compares with your city’s (New York Times)

Small American farmers are nearing extinction (Time)

What happened after Trump officials killed a school integration program (Chalkbeat)

The one-traffic-light town with some of the fastest internet in the U.S. (New Yorker)

New York has an old-timey plan to fix its traffic future (Wired)


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