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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.

photo: San Diego's Trolley

Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

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.

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.

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.

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.

a detail from Andrew's Cuomo's 2020 State of the State goals

The Squid and the Governor

Design experts sound off about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unusual, cephalopod-filled graphic design sensibility.

photo: San Francisco skyline

Would Capping Office Space Ease San Francisco’s Housing Crunch?

Proposition E would put a moratorium on new commercial real estate if affordable housing goals aren’t met. But critics aren’t convinced it would be effective.   

photo: NYC subway

Behind the Gains in U.S. Public Transit Ridership

Public transportation systems in the United States gained passengers over the second and third quarters of 2019. But the boost came from two large cities.

How Berlin's Mietskaserne Tenements Became Coveted Urban Housing

Why do mid-rise tenements dominate Berlin? The Mietskaserne, or “rental barracks,” have shaped the city’s culture and its counterculture.

What’s Behind the Iconic Floor Plan of London

The most common residential floor plans in European cities offer a window into urban history and culture. In London, it’s the “two-up, two-down” row house.

photo: Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg’s Infrastructure Plan Calls for a National Vision Zero

The Democratic candidate’s $1 trillion pledge to upgrade roads, utilities, and public transportation has an emphasis on road safety and climate adaptation.

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.

photo: The New York City Housing Authority's Ocean Bay Apartments Bayside complex in Queens.

As Trump Ditches a Fair Housing Rule, New York City Doubles Down

HUD’s reversal of an Obama-era mandate on discrimination comes as the De Blasio administration releases its own, very different fair housing blueprint.

A map of Minneapolis from the late 19th century.

When Minneapolis Segregated

In the early 1900s, racial housing covenants in the Minnesota city blocked home sales to minorities, establishing patterns of inequality that persist today.

photo: The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore

In the 1980s, Every City Needed a Science Center

Civic boosters were once convinced that planetariums and Tesla coils could revive American downtowns.

Photo: Jack Kemp meets California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967

How Jack Kemp Rewrote the Urban Poverty Playbook

In the 1980s, a pro football quarterback-turned-politician championed big ideas to revitalize America’s cities. It didn’t work.

Photo of census

New York City’s Campaign to ‘Get Out the Count’ for the 2020 Census

New York City is investing an unprecedented amount—$40 million—in hopes of getting the city’s most elusive residents to fill out the 2020 Census.

Denser Housing Is Gaining Traction on America’s East Coast

Maryland joins Virginia with a new proposal to tackle the affordable housing crisis. And it’s sweeping in its ambition.

photo: Toxic lead paint peels from a window frame on a rowhouse in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Unequal Burden of Urban Lead

Decades after federal regulations banned the use of the deadly metal in paint, gasoline, and plumbing, the effects of lead continue to be felt across America’s cities.