Also: The cities where you get the most bang for your buck, and what’s the deal with giant games in parks and plazas?

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

How to get over: Yesterday’s shocking scene of a mass overdose in New Haven punctuates a still-growing crisis in the U.S. A new bleak estimate from the Centers for Disease Control suggests drug overdoses killed a record number of Americans last year: about 72,000. That reflects a rise of around 10 percent over the previous year, driven by strong synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to The New York Times. Though the crisis was first concentrated in small cities and rural areas, it has grown significantly in large cities. An earlier CDC study this year found a 54 percent increase in opioid overdoses in the major metro areas of 16 states that included Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus. (NBC News)

As CityLab’s Linda Poon reported in April, cities and towns are racing to understand what’s driving the opioid crisis—deploying everything from real-time maps to sewer robots to diagnose what’s causing the epidemic, and craft a plan to respond. The challenge is stretching cities to their creative limits, as one first responder told Linda: “The problem is wearing people out so badly that everybody is open to any suggestions.”

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Cities Where You Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

There may be another metro within a day’s drive where the costs of living are a lot lower and salaries go a lot further. Is is worth moving?

Tanvi Misra

An Impressive, Unnecessary, Multi-City Bridge

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is little more than propaganda announcing the unity of China and her former colonies, despite their very different historic, legal, and even transportation backgrounds.

Erin Hale

How a New Park Fits Detroit’s Plan to Bring Its Neighborhoods Back

The reuse of over a dozen vacant lots in the Fitzgerald neighborhood illustrates the city’s holistic approach to redevelopment outside of downtown.

Karim Doumar

What’s the Deal With Giant Games in Parks and Plazas?

Playable cities are here, and they want you to stay awhile.

Nicole Javorsky

The Mass Grave Beneath a Texas Suburb

The recent discovery of bodies of black prison laborers beneath a construction site in Sugar Land, Texas, is forcing the state to confront its difficult history.

Andrea Roberts


Little Boxes

Illustration of Seattle apartment buildings, from Crosscut.
(Photos by Matt M. McKnight/Crosscut; Illustration by Eric Keto)

Why do so many new apartment buildings in Seattle look the same? The answer, per this short video explainer from Crosscut, has a lot to do with a material called HardiePanel that’s popular in mixed-use developments. A local architect describes the fiber cement siding as a great product, though he says it’s become “overused” and “doesn’t exude a sense of permanence.” But the reasons why these buildings have become so ubiquitous in the city goes beyond their candy-colored facades.

CityLab context: You might recognize that style from the affordable housing meme that swept the internet last fall.


What We’re Reading

Warning: the e-scooter story may be more boring than it appears (Streetsblog)

What would a heat-proof city look like? (The Guardian)

Black women now lead police forces in two of America’s whitest cities, Seattle and Portland (Los Angeles Times)

If you build it, will they sponsor? (Slate)


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-illustration of several big-box retail stores.
    Equity

    After the Retail Apocalypse, Prepare for the Property Tax Meltdown

    Big-box retailers nationwide are slashing their property taxes through a legal loophole known as "dark store theory." For the towns that rely on that revenue, this could be a disaster.

  2. A photo of British Prime Minister Theresa May announcing her government's Brexit deal outside No. 10 Downing Street
    Equity

    Britain Finally Has a Brexit Deal. Everyone Hates It.

    Amid resignations, it's clear the U.K. government massively misjudged how leaving the European Union would play out.

  3. Life

    Inside the Movement to Derail Amazon HQ2 Incentives

    New York and Virginia politicians and activists could still make changes to Amazon HQ2 packages—or at least stop the next bidding war from mirroring this one.

  4. A man holding a toddler walks past open-house signs in front of condominiums for sale.
    Life

    Millennials Are More Likely to Buy Their First Homes in Cities

    New research finds that Millennials are 21 percent more likely to buy their first homes near city centers than Generation X.

  5. A photo of a small small house in San Francisco's Noe Valley that sold for $1.8 million in 2014.
    Equity

    Why Cities Must Tackle Single-Family Zoning

    As cities wake up to their housing crises, the problems with single-family-home residential zoning will become too egregious to ignore.