Also: Mayors weigh in on cities’ greatest problems, and DOT’s new grant for better buses.

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What We’re Following

Auto zone: The alarm is going off at the Environmental Protection Agency, and it isn’t Scott Pruitt’s siren. Environmental advocacy groups are signaling a sense of betrayal toward the automakers that lobbied to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, which the EPA announced it would do earlier this week.

Even if the deregulation itself wasn’t surprising, the push by the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers feels like whiplash after car companies worked hard to boost their eco-cred via climate-friendly benefits and “smart city” mobility offerings. CityLab’s Laura Bliss interrogates what it might mean if it’s left up to car companies to go green. (Hint: They’ll hedge their bets.)

Get moving: The U.S. Department of Transportation just announced $264 million in grants to improve 139 city bus systems in 52 states and territories. CityLab context: How Seattle got more people to ride the bus.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

American Cities' Greatest Problems, According to Mayors

From climate change to infrastructure, mayors are increasingly listing issues that were once national and state priorities as amongst their top local concerns, according to a new national survey.

Tanvi Misra

Boomburbs: The Rapid Rise of Toronto's Northern Suburbs

Not so long ago, the Vaughan and Markham communities were rural areas. Now, their tremendous growth is making them part of the Torontonian “edgeless city.”

Lorenzo De Vidovich

New York City Makes (Some) Space for E-Bikes

After a controversial crackdown, city officials will legalize one class of battery-boosted bicycles.

John Surico

How One Small Town Ended Its Drug War

In tiny Chatham, New York, police chief Peter Volkmann turned the town’s cops into drug treatment counselors.

Alastair Boone

'Free-Range' Parenting's Unfair Double Standard

When poorer mothers and fathers let their children play unsupervised, they come under suspicion.

Jessica McCrory Calarco


Photo of the Day: Potted Plants

A photo of a flower in a Brussels pothole.
Brussels resident Anton Schuurmans waters flowers after planting them in an unrepaired pothole to draw attention to the bad state of public roads. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

Mayors like to say there’s no Democratic or Republican way to fill a pothole. But as this Reuters story demonstrates there is a Belgian way: Fill it with flowers. A Brussels man has been planting geraniums and daffodils in city potholes—and seeing them get fixed within a day or two. Of course, gardening is one of many unconventional ways—like making jacuzzis, holding birthday parties, or drawing chalk art—to get your city to notice your dang potholes.


What We’re Reading

HUD long neglected these residents. Now as they move out, some feel let down again. (ProPublica)

Seattle could be the first U.S. city to institute congestion pricing (Streetsblog)

This Atlanta co-housing startup wants to help the working class (Curbed)

Building a connected city from the ground up (New York Times)

How California’s car culture killed the promise of the 20-minute commute (KPCC)


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