Also today: East Coast cities scramble after the blizzard, and why a new train hall won’t fix Penn Station.

In the News

High tides: As other East Coast cities shoveled out of Thursday’s blizzard, Boston had a damper problem: flooding. The National Weather Service estimates that the storm produced record high water levels in the harbor city, where sea level rise is a long-term threat. In 2013, scientists mapped where high tides will hit the city first in different climate change scenarios, making land uninhabitable as “hundred year” storms become more common.

Meanwhile in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to go after private landlords who have left thousands of tenants without heat or running hot water during the cold snap. But what about the city’s public housing tenants who had to brave the blizzard without heating?

Roll back: HUD Secretary Ben Carson has postponed an Obama-era housing desegregation rule. In 2015, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule tied block grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fair housing assessments in order to get cities to grapple with de-facto racial segregation of housing.

The delay—until late 2020, possibly past this administration—is not surprising, but it muddles the path for hundreds of jurisdictions that are already partway through the process. Housing advocates say the AFFH rule was working to get policymakers to look at structural problems that are segregating communities.

Andrew Small


Today on CityLab

When It’s Too Cold For School: This week’s cold snap revealed the sorry state of infrastructure in many urban schools on the East Coast. But there’s no quick fix.

A New Train Hall Won’t Fix Penn Station: The $1.6-billion Moynihan Station will be a bright, spacious improvement on Penn Station’s depressing environs—but it will leave many problems unsolved.

Long Before Levittown, Brooklyn Boasted Mass-Produced Housing: The small community of Gerritsen Beach was a pioneering cookie-cutter suburb in the 1920s.

Bitcoin Is Coming to Your Bodega: Want to pick up some Bitcoin with your beer? Cryptocurrency teller machines across the country are making that a reality.

City Life Stressing You Out? Flee to These Tiny Homes in the Woods: A startup is betting that young city-dwellers need to unwind in the least urban place imaginable.


Quote of the Day

“Look, if you are in one of those Midwestern states where everyone boasts that they're used to the weather—you are driving everywhere. Here, you are walking, or you’re biking, or worst, you’re just standing. You’re waiting for the bus, and you’re standing.”

Monica Hesse, Washington Post: “Dear Northerners: We get that this weather is no big deal for you. Now please shut up.


What We’re Reading

David Brooks writes a “how would Jesus drive?” parable, but dude, Jesus walks! (New York Times)

A Frank Lloyd Wright building in Montana might be getting demolished (Daily Inter Lake)

Cities saw more billion-dollar disasters in 2017 (Curbed)

D.C. law prevents a gas station from redeveloping. Is that unconstitutional? (WAMU)

Five transportation projects to watch in 2018 (Next City)

The Met will start charging tourists in New York, and that’s a bummer (Slate)


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

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