Perspective

An Urbanist Investor’s Table Stakes for Tech Leaders

A growing number of startups are pitching technologies to “solve” urban problems. So it matters when they can’t even name their own local representatives.

A man holds a sign reading: We are fighting for our rights, Uber and Lyft"

How Ride-Hail Companies Can Help, Not Hurt, Cities

A veteran of municipal transportation regulation advises ride-hail companies on how to make cities into friends, not foes.

photo: an Uber driver.

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.

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.

Why Smaller Cities Are Expanding Their Jails, and Their Populations

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

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.

This Thanksgiving, Give Thanks for Public Transit

“Hell is other people,” Sartre wrote, and public transit serves them up aplenty, but chance encounters with unfamiliar folk are the joy of cities. Be thankful.

photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.

My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.

There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

“Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

People in the park at night in front of water

Nairobi Should Rethink Its Colonialist Approach to Urban Design

The road being built in Nairobi is for the rich. Even if it will no longer traverse the city’s major park, it’s not the future-thinking urban design that Kenya needs.

Students work the table at a drive to increase voter participation at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, 2018.

Voting in Local Elections Matters. This Is What Cities Can Do.

Cities need to work at encouraging voter turnout for local elections. Even small increases in participation can transform the political landscape.

Photo: Harrison Ford on the set of Ridley Scott's seminal 'Blade Runner,' set in the grim future of November 2019.

How ‘Blade Runner’ and Sci-Fi Made Everything Dystopian

Science fiction, especially Blade Runner, has spawned so many dystopias that dystopia itself has become banal. We need a new utopianism that embraces the city.

What One Chicago Magazine Reveals About Gentrification

North is an expensively produced lifestyle magazine along the lines of Kinfolk or Monocle. Except it’s published by a Chicago real-estate developer.

The City and State Diplomacy Act in Congress Reflects a New World Order

If the City and State Diplomacy Act becomes law, the Office of Subnational Diplomacy it creates would give cities a formal role in U.S. international diplomacy.

a photo of police and residents of Stockton, CA, in a trust-building workshop

A Police Department’s Difficult Assignment: Atonement

In Stockton, California, city and law enforcement leaders are attempting to build trust between police and communities of color. Why is this so hard to do?

Untangling the Housing Shortage and Gentrification

Untangling these related but different problems is important, because the tactics for solving one won’t work for the other.

A cyclist rides on the bike lane in the Mid Market neighborhood during Bike to Work Day in San Francisco,

Why We Need to Dream Bigger Than Bike Lanes

In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

Sanders walking in front of a large apartment building with men in suits

Why We Can't Fix Affordable Housing: It Isn’t From Lack of Trying

Despite years of investment in developing it, the U.S. still lacks enough affordable public housing. Presidential candidates’ plans must address reasons why.

How Cities Address the Housing Crisis, and Why It’s Not Enough

Local officials from across the U.S. are gathering to discuss ways to address the affordable housing crisis but, they say the federal government must do more.

a photo of a row of Citi Bikes in NYC.

‘Walled Gardens’ vs. Open Mobility: The Battle Begins

Why did Lyft block users of a third-party app from accessing New York’s Citi Bike? It’s the start of what could be a fundamental showdown over mobility choice.

A photo of residents blocking a Philadelphia intersection on a July weekend in 1953.

The Hidden History of American Anti-Car Protests

A wave of traffic safety activism in the 1970s helped reshape Dutch streets. But the U.S. had its own anti-car movement earlier, led largely by women.