Make way for bus love. Laura Bliss/CityLab

Also today: What affordable housing already looks like, and inside the secret cities that created the atomic bomb.

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What We’re Following

Magic bus: Seattle, the fastest-growing city in the country, has achieved something of a commuting miracle—as the city’s population grew, the number of downtown commuters driving private vehicles declined. What made that possible isn’t that much of a secret: The city respects the power of the bus. By making these public coaches the choice ride of new arrivals, Seattle has even bucked the national trend of bus ridership decline.

From dedicated road space and funding to frequent and prioritized service, transportation leaders in the Emerald City have been able to show that championing the bus isn’t political; it’s practical. CityLab’s Laura Bliss rolled through Seattle to see how the city built a bus system that works—and in return built goodwill with riders. Read her story How to Build a Bus Renaissance in the latest installment of our Bus to the Future series.

Hold the bus! If you’ve missed any of our Bus to the Future coverage this week, here’s your one-stop spot to catch up.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Inside the Secret Cities That Created the Atomic Bomb

The Manhattan Project, the program that developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II, worked out of three purpose-built cities in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington state. A new exhibition considers their design and legacy.

Amanda Kolson Hurley

What the Future of Affordable Housing Already Looks Like

An exhibit on selected projects across Europe offers a few ideas for a U.S. audience.

Teresa Mathew

The Great Parisian Bikeshare Meltdown

Glitches and worker strikes have brought the world’s first modern bikeshare program to its knees.  

Feargus O'Sullivan

Like People, Diseases Travel Fast These Days

Since the 1918 flu pandemic that wiped out about five percent of the world’s population there have been strides toward eradicating most communicable diseases, yet the vulnerability of certain parts of the world affects everyone.

Nels Nelson and Sam Sternin

Digital Jukeboxes Are Eroding the Dive-Bar Experience

The fight to control the playlist is a struggle between the group’s happiness and the individual’s.

Lauren Michele Jackson


Work your core

(Wendell Cox/New Geography)

About 80 percent of the U.S. population live in urban areas—but that doesn’t mean most people are living downtown. This chart from Wendell Cox at New Geography shows the top 20 metropolitan areas with a population over 1 million people that have the largest share of residents in the urban core. New York leads the pack with 53 percent of its population, followed by Boston with about 36 percent and another seven large metros have more than 20 percent in their urban core. However, only 14 percent of the people living in the 53 major metropolitan areas (more than 1 million people) reside in their city’s urban core.

CityLab context: Why densifying the urban core alone won’t fix housing and When density isn’t greener


What We’re Reading

The airports that architects want to redesign the most (Fast Company)

Save lives with slower streets—not self driving cars (Wired)

Rising home prices lead to worries of a housing market bubble (NPR)

Half of America’s carbon-free electricity comes from nuclear. Here’s how to save it (Vox)

Why universities became big-time real estate developers (Slate)

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