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Watch the ‘burbs: Alabama’s shocker Senate election, coupled with similarly surprising results from Virginia’s state elections last month, seems to confirm the prelude to the 2018 elections: the suburbs are the new swing states.

Republican Roy Moore eked out a lead of just 4 percentage points in the suburban precincts, according to Politico’s analysis of the exit polls—that’s a huge showing for a Democrat in deep-red Alabama. The combination of affluent, college-educated voters and economically distressed voters have transformed suburbs into a key battleground in recent elections. Still, the classic urban-rural divide still throws around a lot of weight, as Politico notes:

But [Moore] was besieged by Jones’ margins in the state’s urban areas, where Jones won by 71 points, 85 percent to 14 percent. It was the votes in the late-reporting urban centers of Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile that put Jones over the top in the vote count Tuesday night, after Moore had led for most of the evening.

The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk notes that African American turnout in the state far exceeded expectations, with black voters making up a larger representation of voters. That, along with winning women voters and young people by larger margins, helped Jones pull off a victory that looked so unlikely in a state where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 28 points.

A final request granted: After the news of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s unexpected death, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved his request to declare a citywide emergency and to fast-track building shelters for homeless people.

That was easy: With a few simple orange cones, Boston DOT and the MBTA made a pop-up bus lane on a mile-long stretch that can take up to 45 minutes to travel. The result? Rush-hour rides shortened by about 30 minutes, and many happy bus commuters along the way. Everett, Massachusetts, tried something similar earlier this year—just goes to show how quickly a cheap, simple experiment can be tried anywhere.


More on CityLab

Is Canada One Step Closer to Declaring Housing a Human Right?

On paper, Canada’s National Housing Strategy is a historic victory for housing activists, but many questions remain about how it will be applied in practice.

How Place Shapes Our Politics

Political scientist and author Ryan Enos explains how geography can sharpen political conflicts.

Switzerland Just Opened the World's Only Tri-National Streetcar System

France and Germany are just a short ride away.

How Athens Confronted Government Distrust by Connecting Citizens to Each Other

After the Greek city’s financial crisis, disconnected private citizens drove much of the recovery. The SynAthina Platform connected these groups, says Athens Vice Mayor and founder Amalia Zeppo.

The Second Life of Frank Lloyd Wright's Monster House

150 years after the architect was born, his striking tile-clad Ennis House is a testament to his continued influence—particularly onscreen.

Eyes on the Tweets

A screenshot from @elium2

With all the talk of about Black Belt on television last night, this 2016 map seems more relevant than ever. Also: don’t miss this great thread for the historical context of how slavery shaped the Black Belt.


What We’re Reading

Is Virginia’s $40 toll road outrageous… or the future? (NPR)

Amazon’s hiring calms down in Seattle before HQ2 (Seattle Times)

How safe is safe enough for driverless cars? (Washington Post)

What can other cities teach Baltimore about dollar home programs? (GGWash)

The debate: Is hostile architecture designing people out of cities? (CNN)


What’s going on in your neighborhood? Send stories, tips, and feedback to hello@citylab.com.

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