Also: Making green roofs more biodiverse, and the “Fight Club of cycling.”

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What We’re Following

Backyard brawl: As California debates a sweeping bill that would overhaul housing regulations, the expected battle lines emerged quickly: the NIMBYs oppose it, the YIMBYs favor it.

Now meet the PHIMBYs, which stands for “Public Housing in My Backyard.” They’re a loose alliance of socialist activists, tenants’ rights boosters, and affordable housing advocates—and they’ve emerged to also oppose the bill, SB 827. They’re concerned that it will unleash market-rate development, and won’t improve housing for low-income people. CityLab’s Benjamin Schneider examines how the collision of the three groups, each with its own vision for the backyard, has created a confounding political dynamic around the Golden State’s housing crisis.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Can We Make Green Roofs More Biodiverse?

A study of decades-old German green roofs found that they don’t support a wide range of animal and plant life. But researchers and designers are trying to change that.

Leslie Nemo

The Art of Boostin’ from High-End Fashion Stores

The guys who made names off of boostin’ from high-end stores in the 1980s, like Dapper Dan and the Lo-Lifes, are now getting props, but women boosters have not enjoyed the same embrace. Artist Jamea Richmond-Edwards hopes to change that with her new exhibit, “Fly Girl Fly.”

Brentin Mock

How 'Deaf President Now' Changed America

A brief history of the movement that transformed a university and helped catalyze the Americans With Disabilities Act.

David M. Perry

A New Exhibit That Truly Is All Over The Place

The artist’s new show at the Queens Museum manages to put a spotlight on community chaos and create seductive objects out of it.

Teresa Mathew

Why Won't the Government Let Me Study Gun Violence?

Since 1996, the CDC’s efforts to study gun-related injuries and deaths have systematically undermined by a federal law.  

Dabney P. Evans


Ride or Die

People race in Northern Virginia's 'Anything Goes' bike race.
(Joy Yi/CityLab)

H.G. Wells once wrote, “cycle tracks will abound in Utopia,” but you might not have to go that far. Just off the D.C. Metro in Northern Virginia’s Crystal City, there’s a parking garage that turns into a cycling paradise at night. The weekly series of garage races brings serious fixed-gear race bikes alongside a hodgepodge of human-powered wheels—from bikeshares to scooters to unicycles and even a penny farthing—for a night of racing suited for anyone. CityLab’s Linda Poon has the lowdown on the “Fight Club of cycling” that’s trying to liven up a dreary office district.


What We’re Reading

How the hell do you make money renting scooters? (Tech Crunch)

Sketch in the city: the artist capturing urban clutter (The Guardian)

Tesla’s wild fight with the feds investigating an autopilot death (Wired)

Zillow intends to buy and flip homes (Wall Street Journal)

Could these simple ideas boost bus ridership? (Curbed)


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