Also today: The mind-boggling toll of traffic, and Maryland offers Amazon a “blank check.”

What We’re Following

“This isn’t a good place for a house”: Hurricane Maria destroyed or damaged more than one-third of Puerto Rico’s 1.2 million occupied homes. Now Puerto Rico officials say the disaster aid package in Congress falls short of what’s needed to address the territory’s housing crisis. Also: FEMA hired a contractor to provide 30 million meals in Puerto Rico. Only 50,000 were delivered.

Amazon’s budget list: It’s not just tax incentives. Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn told lawmakers that the state would basically give Amazon a “blank check” for the transportation improvements if the retail giant picks the D.C. suburb of Bethesda for its second headquarters. Add that to the long list of extreme bids to lure HQ2. ICYMI: The case for putting HQ2 in the suburbs.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Traffic’s Mind-Boggling Economic Toll

The largest study of its kind ever conducted reveals just how how costly the scourge of traffic is in the world’s greatest cities.

Benjamin Schneider

The Sharing Economy Needs to Be Better Partners With Cities

Most municipalities have abandoned their efforts to resist the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world. But there’s a lot both sides can do to heal the rift.

Brooks Rainwater

The Rise of 'Digital Poorhouses'

Seemingly benign and even well-meaning high-tech tools are evolving the ways in which government criminalizes and punishes the poor.

Tanvi Misra

A Brighter Future for Run-Down Basketball Courts

For Project Backboard, there’s a simple way to turn a dilapidated court into a vibrant community hub: Just color outside the lines.

Natalie Daher

An End to Gerrymandering in Ohio?

A bipartisan compromise that just passed the state Senate would require minority-party support for political maps, and would limit the number of communities that could be splintered.

Vann R. Newkirk II


Eyes on the Tweets

A gif of SpaceX's "Starman" in a Tesla.

The symbolism of launching a car into space wasn’t lost on our colleague Marina Koren at The Atlantic, and Twitter had a few jokes with some urbanist undertones to toss on the SpaceX payload. Our favorite bits of snark:

“HI, THIS IS YOUR @Uber DRIVER, I'M OUTSIDE.”
-Néstor Espinoza (@nespinozap)

“We wish @elonmusk all the best as he launches a car into space. Just a few hundred million more to go…”
-Bicycle Lobby (@BicycleLobby)

“The private sector is so dynamic it put an unmanned car into space only 47 years after the public sector did it with a manned car.”
-John Moynes (@JohnMoynes)

Plus: What Elon Musk gets wrong about mass transit on Earth—and what he gets right.


What We’re Reading

The two sides of Ben Carson’s “quiet presence” at HUD (Washington Post)

Philadelphia’s parade for the Eagles could be bigger than the Pope’s visit (PlanPhilly)

The case against sidewalks (Curbed)

Driver’s suicide reveals the dark side of the gig economy (New York Times)

The search for a homeless former NFL player in New Orleans (NOLA)


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