Also today: The city that “This Town” forgot, and why great cities enable you to live longer.

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What We’re Following

The granny flats are coming: As housing costs rise, people have found a literal backdoor into affordable housing: accessory dwelling units. These granny flats, English basements, and converted garages aren’t just some Portlandia fad—they could be a real strategy for filling in the cracks in our housing supply and addressing many related challenges that cities face.

Salvadoran strongholds: Cities and communities are grappling with the federal government’s decision to end protected status for about 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador. CityLab visits two of America’s largest Salvadoran communities—in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.—to survey the impact.

Post-MLK Day: If your day off left you hankering to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, listen to CityLab’s Tanvi Misra on the Kojo Nnamdi Show discussing what we can learn from the streets named for Dr. King. Also: Esri maps the key sites of his life.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The City That ‘This Town’ Forgot: Washington, D.C., is home to a huge concentration of reporters. Why do they miss the stories happening in their own city?

Great Cities Enable You to Live Longer: Dense, well-educated, immigrant-friendly cities boost longevity—especially for the low-income.

The Last Man Standing in a Doomed Buffalo Housing Complex: After a long fight between tenants and management, John Schmidt is waiting for U.S. Marshals to drag him out of Shoreline apartments, a Brutalist project designed by Paul Rudolph.

The MLK Murals of America: Portraits of the slain civil rights leader captured over time give us a view of history from neighborhoods that often go unrecorded.

Exploring Martin Luther King's Legacy in New York City: A photography exhibit revisits King’s impact on the fight for civil rights in the city.


Map of the Day

Map of travel time to a city. (University of Oxford)
(University of Oxford)

Famously, urbanization can be seen from the night’s sky. But new maps from the University of Oxford illuminate the world in a different way: how long it takes to travel to the nearest city of 50,000 people or more. (White hot indicates urban areas, orange indicates travel of more than an hour, dark purple is more than a day.) More maps and details from The Guardian.


What We’re Reading

Don Norman explains how bad design caused Hawaii’s false alarm (Fast Company)

Devastated by wildfire, a California city weighs rebuilding amid a housing crunch (Washington Post)

When street painting goes wrong (99% Invisible)

Who did the Eisenhower Expressway displace in Chicago? (WBEZ)

Is this the beginning of the end of Trump’s real estate empire? (The Guardian)

How subway tile became a staple of farmhouses (Washington Post)


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