Also: How housing fuels inequality, and an intimate portrait of urban renewal.
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What We’re Following
Days of our lines: New York City’s 6 million daily subway riders face constant delays, overcrowded cars, big gaps in service, and (today) rain-drenched tunnels. Yet long-promised funds and improvements never seem to come.
That wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century, the system grew quickly, unfurling from just a single line in 1904 to a vast network hundreds of miles long by the 1920s. After World War II, that growth came to a hard stop, and the city hasn’t opened a new full-fledged line since 1940.
Why? In a gorgeous illustrated timeline, CityLab answers the question, charting the history of the subway’s sorry state both chronologically and thematically. (There’s a fantasy “map” of the system’s decline in there, too). Check it out here.
Taxing deadlines: Grateful for the extra time to file your taxes this year? You can thank a municipal policy for that: Washington, D.C.’s Emancipation Day, commemorating the 1862 congressional act that freed the district’s enslaved population of 3,100 people. The IRS observes the local holiday, shifting the tax deadline for everyone (See Time’s explainer from 2017). But don’t get used to it: This delay won’t happen again until 2029.
More on CityLab
Urban Renewal, On Stage
How do you fit the titanic forces of urban renewal into an onstage drama? Set it in a diner, of course. August Wilson’s Two Trains Running captures the sweeping changes that came to Pittsburgh’s Hill District after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, all without ever leaving the checkerboard-tiled stage that is Memphis Lee’s diner. As CityLab’s Kriston Capps writes, “The world seems only as large as the stories of the people who float through Memphis’s doors.”
- See more from CityLab’s ongoing series Cities on Fire 1968: Urban America After MLK
What We’re Reading
Protesters rally outside a Philadelphia Starbucks after arrests of two black men (NPR)
What cities are doing to combat noise, “the new secondhand smoke” (Governing)
Tech needs architects (Fast Company)
Scooter company’s challenge shows the micro-mobility wars have begun (Forbes)