Also: Watch the suburbs in today’s elections, and what Pyeongchang looks like after the Olympics.

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What We’re Following

Silver and gold: In the past 20 years, the LEED rating system has reshaped architecture and real estate in the United States. The environmental building certification is now expected for high-end offices, and it’s available for virtually any type of construction, including entire neighborhoods and cities. While it has inarguably changed the course of the building industry for the better, there’s ongoing debate about how much energy it really saves and if stricter standards are in order. On CityLab: Is LEED Tough Enough for the Climate-Change Era?

‘Burb watching: Eight states hold primary elections today, and the future of the House may be decided in the suburbs, according to a roundup by The New York Times. That’s especially true in New Jersey, which both parties have called “the most suburban state in the country.” Democrats have a plausible shot at all five House seats currently held by Republicans in the state.

Voters also go to the polls today in San Francisco’s closely watched mayoral race. Read CityLab’s coverage on what the unusual race says about the city’s progressive soul.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Post-Olympics Pyeongchang Is a Ghost Town

Three months after the Winter Games, the crowds are gone and residents wonder about the future.

Sam Weber

Taxi-Driver Suicides Are a Warning

Technology has pushed a vulnerable, largely immigrant, population into an economically precarious situation—even as its prospects of upward mobility dwindle.

Reihan Salam

This Is the Last Straw

It’s time to crack down on single-use plastic drinking utensils, the world’s most disposable product.

Kriston Capps

In Search of the ‘Just City’

Toni Griffin, one of the leading black women in architecture and design, is leading her students at Harvard in envisioning and designing the "just city." And it looks different in Boston than it does in Rotterdam.

Brentin Mock

Building a Community in Brooklyn’s Backyards

In 1983, neighbors on an unusual block agreed to create a more open, shared space behind their homes. What they built remains a special slice of nature in a bustling city.

Hannah Frishberg


Gone Solo

Pie chart of Americans' leisure time on an average day.

You don’t need an app to escape the digital rat race—just go outside. The chart above shows how Americans spend leisure time pretty poorly: a large majority goes to television, and I’d bet phones are eating into a lot of those other activities, like socializing and reading. Researchers from two North Carolina colleges recommend a better way to relax: by going on solitary expeditions in nature. That kind of solitude can help people improve their engagement with their work and community, and help them clear their minds. Read how alone time in nature is good for your mind and soul.


What We’re Reading

White flight returns, this time it’s from the suburbs (Governing)

An urbanist guide to children’s books (Streetsblog)

The rogue world of one of New York’s major trash haulers (ProPublica)

You can now wear the MTA’s masterpiece on your wrist (Fast Company)


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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this newsletter misidentified the affiliation of the researchers recommending outdoor alone time. They are from two colleges, not Outward Bound.

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