Also today: Pittsburgh’s mayor talks autonomous vehicles, and a new way to find LGBT-friendly housing.

What We’re Following

Who’s counting: On Wednesday, more than 160 mayors issued a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross with a clear message: Don’t mess with the 2020 Census. A new citizenship question and underfunding already had Census-watchers on high alert. Now, the mayors are warning that inaccurate counts could put the Census on shaky constitutional grounds.

Infrastructure alert: The Senate’s shutdown-averting budget bill includes $20 billion for infrastructure projects. And, per CNBC, the White House says it’ll issue “infrastructure principles” (read: a plan, finally?) on Monday.

To your door: Amazon plans to offer free two-hour deliveries from Whole Foods to Prime members in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach. Is this the start of another pain point for cities already struggling with a surge in delivery trucks?

HQ2 update: Maryland’s governor voids the “blank check” the transportation secretary offered for Amazon’s transit needs.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Bill Peduto: 'Pittsburgh Was Already a Decade Ahead'

Pittsburgh’s mayor talks about the city becoming the capital of autonomous vehicles and the challenge of including everyone in its renewal.

Richard Florida

What Should Grow in a Vacant Lot?

Chris Swan is spending years studying a unique ecosystem—the vacant lots of Baltimore—looking for the best ways to bring the city’s dead spaces back to life.

Andrea Appleton

How to Find a Neighborhood With Legal Protections for LGBT People

A new tool from Trulia shows homebuyers and renters if a property is covered by LGBT nondiscrimination laws at the state, county, and city levels.

Teresa Mathew

The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools

The law will facilitate private-school attendance and put more obstacles in front of the neediest students.

Clint Smith

Paris Cracks Down on Slumlords

A new case delivers on the government’s promise to treat bad landlords “like drug dealers.”

Feargus O'Sullivan


Play to Win

A screenshot from Bloomberg's American Mall game

Experience the anxieties of the “retail apocalypse” with Bloomberg’s all-too-real estate game called “American Mall.” Play as a tycoon who balances expenses, rent, and happiness by keeping stores open, rats out, and cyberpunks away. Try gambits and boondoggles to lure people into the declining City Plaza—and even bribe the mayor for economic incentives!

Inevitably, you’ll reach the game over screen with Jeff Bezos laughing as you surrender your market share. And you thought late capitalism was easy.


What We’re Reading

Drawing the right lessons from ‘the great crime decline’ (New Yorker)

Is tech dividing America? (Politico)

Is the dockless bikesharing revolution a mirage? (Streetsblog)

Waymo vs. Uber is looking a lot more like Spy vs. Spy (Wired)

Space X launched a car into space, but what about the environmental impact? (City Metric)


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