Also: Mayors make a plan for net neutrality, and an affordable boost for “granny flats.”

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***

What We’re Following

A tale of new cities: For over a decade, the Atlanta region has been carved into new cities, predominantly in white neighborhoods. But when residents in the majority-black community of South DeKalb wanted to form a new city of Greenhaven, the state legislature couldn’t even put it on the ballot this year.

With the wealthiest and whitest neighborhoods already decamped, South DeKalb’s disinvestment has paradoxically become the argument for and against Greenhaven as a city project, creating an economic quagmire that has the challenges of racial segregation at its roots. In a follow-up to an earlier article, CityLab’s Brentin Mock digs into the question of whether cityhood is the remedy that unincorporated and financially disadvantaged communities have been searching for.

Put it in neutral: A coalition of 12 cities is pledging to protect net neutrality—and shame the companies who won’t. Speaking to a panel at South by Southwest (SXSW) moderated by CityLab, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that cities are committing to only do business with internet service providers that honor net neutrality principles, as part of an “open internet pledge.”

Today at the SXSW Cities Summit:

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Portland's 'Granny Flats' Get an Affordable Boost

A new startup pays the upfront cost of a backyard dwelling in exchange for some of the rent it generates.

Laura Bliss

'Stop Killing Kids,' Traffic Safety Advocates Protest

A march in New York City on Monday draws inspiration from the 1970s social movement that changed Dutch street design for good.

Laura Bliss

The Gateway Arch, a Global Icon, Reconnects to St. Louis

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch once stood in splendid isolation. A new $380-million renovation of its grounds brings it closer to downtown.

Zach Mortice

Building Better Bus Stops Can Be a Snap

Hold the concrete. These prefab plastic platforms are helping cities experiment with bus infrastructure, without spending so much time and money.

Linda Poon

Who's in Charge of the Augmented City?

So far, major forays into our augmented world have been pretty harmless. But with technological advancements and unchecked intrusions by private companies, the future could be terrifying.

Jason Sayer


The Urban Lens

Instagram photo of San Francisco's Bay Bridge, by ethan.k56

Instagram user @ethan.k56 sends this view an urban canyon of buildings that perfectly framed San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. He writes “You gotta wonder if they lined it up like this on purpose.” Check out this CityLab archive photo essay with some more incredible views of the Bay Bridge’s reconstruction, which took more than a decade.

Spotting some urban sights up high or down low? Tag us with #citylabontheground and we might share it here or on our Instagram page.


What We’re Reading

A decaying bridge lays bare how a struggling city treats its poorer residents (New York Times)

The plague inspired Da Vinci to design a city. We should steal his ideas. (Fast Company)

The Los Angeles Times’s architecture critic is taking a job in city hall. Here’s why. (Los Angeles Times)

The case for fare-capping (Streetsblog)

Paul Ryan says an infrastructure plan might have better luck if it’s passed in pieces (Bloomberg)

The future of Silicon Valley (San Francisco Chronicle)


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