Also: California’s housing hell, and the case for D.C.’s flat skyline.

What We’re Following

Bus to the Future banner

Round and round: As traffic congestion gets worse in cities around the U.S., shiny solutions abound, from light rail to gondolas to autonomous vehicles. But there’s already a cheaper, more flexible option that doesn’t get the love it deserves: the bus.

Now arriving: our Bus to the Future series. Though there’s a nationwide downturn in bus ridership, the basic model—a big container of people moving along a set route—has never stopped working. And cities are tinkering with new tools, from road-space policy to new-age technology, to make riding the bus better. Introducing the series, CityLab’s Laura Bliss writes that this underdog of transit needs a lot of love—but it’s also never held more heroic potential.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

There Will Be No Exit From California's Housing Hell

SB 827 may have been great economics, but it was poor politics.

Joe Cortright

Why Do Londoners Identify With Their City More Than Their Country?

Residents report a preference to be considered a Londoner over British, English, or European.

Feargus O'Sullivan

The Case for D.C.'s Flat Skyline

Some Washingtonians complain that the city’s height limit has resulted in lookalike, boxy buildings. But creativity can emerge from constraint, a West Coast critic argues.

John King

How to Survive a Police Shooting When You're Black

Pittsburgh activist Leon Ford explains in his new book, Untold, how to get lifted up, and how to lift a city up, even after being shot by its police.

Brentin Mock

In Hawaii, Neighborhoods Are Being Displaced By Lava

Volcanic eruptions like this can have a long-term—and sometimes permanent—impact on the communities that live there.

Robinson Meyer


Jail, Mapped

Pew Research Center map of incarceration rates around the world

The United States’s incarceration rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1996—with a nationwide rate of 860 prison or jail inmates for every 100,000 adults, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That number was once as low as 310 inmates per 100,000 people, in 1980, before a sharp rise peaked with 1,000 inmates per 100,000 from 2006 to 2008. The map above from the Pew Research Center shows how the U.S. incarceration rate (notoriously the highest in the world) compares to other countries based on a slightly different measure, from the World Prison Brief, which includes inmates of all ages.

ICYMI on CityLab: Is America ready to rethink incarceration?


What We’re Reading

How Republicans are undermining the 2020 census, explained in a cartoon (Vox)

Is there a chance for another Nashville transit plan? (Next City)

New York’s ferry plan will be delightful. It’s also a mistake (New York)

A handy guide to the 2018 primary season—including deadlines for voter registration, early voting, and mail-in ballots  (Politico)


Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to hello@citylab.com.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.

    The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.

  2. Life

    How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

    New York’s empty storefronts are a dark omen for the future of cities.

  3. Maps

    Europe’s Capital Cities Keep Getting Richer and Younger

    Other areas, not so much.

  4. Design

    A Step-by-Step Guide for Fixing Badly Planned American Cities

    An excerpt from Jeff Speck’s Walkable City Rules, a step-by-step guide to fixing America’s cities and towns.

  5. A man in a blazer stands on a stage giving a presentation
    Life

    America Is Losing Its Edge for Startups

    It used to be that 95 percent of global startup and venture-capital activity happened in the U.S. Today, it’s just over one-half.