Also: SCOTUS strikes down a gerrymandering challenge, and the high cost of saving travel time.

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***

What We’re Following

From drab to prefab: With a complex web of architects, contractors, and subcontractors, the construction industry is difficult to streamline and resistant to gains in productivity. So, naturally, a Silicon Valley startup sees an opportunity to do what Silicon Valley startups do best: disrupt.

Katerra, a modular construction company, wants to take over the building process from start to finish, aiming to churn out apartments the way Starbucks pushes lattes. It’s not the first to chase the dream of prefabricated construction, and its investments in good architects and mass timber could give it a decisive edge—or prove to be a costly gamble. CityLab’s Amanda Kolson Hurley reports on Why Silicon Valley Wants to Conquer Construction

Just in: The Supreme Court rules that Texas lawmakers weren’t intentionally discriminatory in 10 out of 11 congressional and state legislative districts redrawn in 2010. The decision reverses a lower court decision that found racial gerrymandering undercut the voting power of black and Hispanic voters. (Texas Tribune)

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The High Cost of Saving Travel Time

Are commuters changing how they value their minutes? A new study of time/cost trade-offs between transit, Uber, and Lyft is a hint.

Laura Bliss

Why Trump Wants a Department of Public Welfare

A sweeping plan to reform the federal government could be considered an effort to undo the New Deal with a single org chart.

Kriston Capps

Designing Better Affordable Housing in New York

A city commission has new guidelines for developers, designers, and community members.

Teresa Mathew

Where Will the Migrant Kids Go?

After the executive order signed by the Trump administration, the situation for kids and families detained at the border is even more uncertain than it was before. But here are some scenarios.

Tanvi Misra and David Montgomery

When There’s a Snake in the House, These Guys Can Help

In the Indian city of Madurai, a volunteer group deals humanely with emergencies of the reptile kind.

Kamala Thiagarajan

I Delivered Packages for Amazon and It Was a Nightmare

Amazon Flex pays drivers to deliver packages from their own vehicles. But is it a good deal for workers?

Alana Semuels


Kicking It

Statista chart shows where the World Cup overlaps most with work hours in several cities.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia packs 64 games into just four weeks. With as many as three games a day, workers all over the world are being pulled away from their desks, bending the productivity curve like… sigh, Beckham. This chart from Statista, shared by the World Economic Forum, shows where game times and work hours overlap in some major cities. Rio and New York have at least 60 hours of possible game-watching time during work. London, Los Angeles, Paris, and Berlin have over 30 hours. And if you really want to get technical, Tableau has a map exploring how the World Cup could affect the GDP of the 32 countries in the tournament—calculating both the potential upsides and downsides of wins and losses of their team.

ICYMI on CityLab: A World Cup Stadium embodies Russia’s complex history


What We’re Reading

Their friend died in a hit-and-run. Can they take on car culture in Los Angeles? (New York Times)

Coming soon to cities: one transit app to rule them all (Fast Company)

Diversity in architecture is improving—sort of (Curbed)

Cities are watching you—and urban sciences graduates are watching back (Wired)

Five things Trump gets most wrong about MS-13 (ProPublica)


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