Also: How one kid stopped the contamination of a river, and righting the wrongs of HQ2.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.

***

What We’re Following

Down in the dumps: San Francisco Mayor London Breed caused a stir in conservative media with her recent observation that there are “more feces on sidewalks than I have ever seen.” The statement has since been used as the example of progressive urban politics gone haywire. But it’s actually emblematic of a deeper policy problem, argues CityLab’s Laura Bliss: The sidewalk has become a dumping ground for a whole host of city challenges.

“Indeed, the reasons people leave feces and urine in public rights-of-way aren’t unrelated to the reasons others leave shared bicycles and scooters there,” she writes. Sidewalks have become the last shred of public space in cities, so it’s no wonder we’re fighting over them. Laura went to San Francisco to see how sidewalks got to be the high-demand space for when city policy goes bad.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

How One Kid Stopped the Contamination of a River

To halt the illegal flow of raw sewage into Nova Scotia’s LaHave River, it took a determined 11-year-old with water samples and a Facebook page.

Nicole Javorsky

Righting the Wrongs of Amazon HQ2

What should or could cities do differently next time a behemoth company solicits bids for for its headquarters?

Richard Florida and Nathan M. Jensen

Can Minnesota Get Dockless Bikesharing to Play Nice?

The Twin Cities’ docked system has a proposal to go dockless—without the chaos and sidewalk clutter.

Andrew Small

Is There a Better Way to Battle Evictions?

Students at BYU’s LawX Lab are building software that can help imperiled tenants get automated legal assistance, fast.

Kriston Capps

The Public Art of Robert Moses’s New York

The master builder’s art patronage through the 1950s was representative of the city’s relative indifference to civic statuary and monuments. The 1964 World’s Fair revealed a transition in attitudes.

Michele Bogart


L in Vain

Map of commuting mode share, showing walking, biking, and public transit.
(Active Transportation Alliance)

The war on cars is alive and well in Chicago, where advocates are calling for a moratorium on expressway expansion in advance of the city’s 2050 regional plan. Active Transportation Alliance, the advocacy group making the call to action, has a new report about car dependency in the region. As the chart above shows, the city is lagging behind some of its peers in terms of walking, biking, and public transportation, which accounts for 36.5 percent of commuters—falling behind Boston and San Francisco, and just ahead of Seattle and Philadelphia. The advocacy organization says that trend is disproportionately driven by the suburbs, where 86 percent of commuters drive compared to 58 percent of Chicagoans overall.

CityLab context: A recent study took a look at the high cost of saving travel time in Chicago, comparing the tradeoffs between public transit and ride-hailing.


What We’re Reading

The history of Rosa Parks’s house is the history of redlining (Next City)

Remember Google Fiber? So do 400,000 households in nine cities (Marketplace)

Why recycling doesn’t work (The Walrus)

Where black homeownership is the norm (Pew Stateline)

This company hired anyone who applied. Now it’s starting a movement (Fast Company)


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. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  2. Life

    American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP

    Millennial movers have hastened the growth of left-leaning metros in southern red states such as Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. It could be the biggest political story of the 2020s.

  3. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  4. Life

    Mapping the Changing Colors of Fall Across the U.S.

    Much of the country won’t see those vibrant oranges and reds until mid-October, which leaves plenty of time for leaf peepers to plan their autumn road trips.

  5. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

×