Also: Amazon chafes at Seattle’s tax plan, and the great housing reset.

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What We’re Following

Photo of buildings with solar panels in Babcock Ranch, Florida.
An aerial view of Babcock Ranch near Fort Myers, which is projected to have 50,000 residents by the time it’s completed. (Babcock Ranch)

Sunshine state of mind: On first glance, Babcock Ranch doesn’t look much different from other planned communities in Florida, but the suburban development has high hopes. As the first solar-powered city in the United States, solar panels on public and commercial buildings power all the downtown amenities you could dream of, from gastropubs to swimming pools. Self-driving shuttles roam the streets. “Solar trees” provide phone-charging spots in public spaces.

The first 20 residents moved in this January, and the 440 acres of solar panels provide more than enough power for all their utilities. But the sustainable community is still in its infancy. Over the next 20 years, its developer hopes to offer 19,500 homes outfitted with high-tech and environmentally friendly features to draw in 50,000 residents.

Read the full story on CityLab: Can a New ‘Solar City’ Make Suburbia Green?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Will Seattle's Plan for a Progressive Tax Scare Amazon Away?

Seattle wants big businesses to fund affordable housing and reduce homelessness. Amazon isn’t happy.

Sarah Holder

The Great Housing Reset

The rise of renting in the U.S. isn’t just about high housing prices, or preferences for city living, but about the flexibility to compete in today’s economy.

Richard Florida

The War on Cars, Norwegian Edition

Oslo is still planning to go car-free by 2019, thanks to an ambitious network of bike lanes. But old habits do die hard.

Laura Bliss

America, Land of the Young and Lonely

A survey suggests young adults belong to the loneliness generation—but experts say it’s too early to call it an epidemic.

Linda Poon

A Witness to the Desegregation—and Resegregation—of America's Schools

Rebecca Palacios began teaching soon after a landmark court case mandated integration of Latino schools—and watched the case's effects weaken over decades.

Kristina Rizga


The Hunger Belt

Feeding America map of food insecurity
(Feeding America)

This map from Feeding America, a domestic hunger relief organization, shows U.S. food insecurity in 2016. About 12 percent of households meet the USDA’s definition of food insecure, meaning they have experienced a lack of access to enough healthy food for all members of a household. That includes 41 million individuals, about 12 million of whom are children.

The interactive map zooms to the state and county level, showing how many food-insecure people qualify for nutritional assistance programs like SNAP. It also points out the average meal costs, food budget shortfalls, and the locations of nearby Feeding America network food banks. How does your hometown compare, and are there any interesting initiatives we should know about there? Drop us a line: hello@citylab.com.

CityLab context: Why Can’t America Solve the Hunger Problem?


What We’re Reading

America is more diverse than ever—but still segregated (Washington Post)

These are the best cities for biking in the United States (Fast Company)

How new transit options are affecting rents (Curbed)

New York City street parking is preposterously corrupt (Slate)

As Durham changes, black residents ask: Is there still room for us? (New York Times)


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