Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Also today: It’s electric moped time, and the economic toll of New York’s inaccessible subway.

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

Room for debate: Someone had to say it. There are some major downsides to the open floor plan trend in American homes that lets noise echo across wall-free interiors. Kate Wagner, the author of the architecture blog McMansion Hell, looks to history to explain how we got here in the first place.

The conventional narrative is that houses in the United States once had floor plans that were closed, and then began opening up, shifting from the formal “hall-and-parlor” to a more compact home design. But that narrative derives from an affluent class. In working-class homes, an opposite progression occurred, with more walls emerging as families grew. It seems rooms prevailed for good reason: They make a lot of sense, from both an environmental and a living perspective. For CityLab, Wagner argues that true freedom might mean putting up a few barriers.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Economic Toll of New York's Inaccessible Subway

If you can’t do stairs, half the city’s neighborhoods are transit deserts, according to a new report.

Claire Tran

It’s Electric Moped Time, America

The founders of Revel, an e-scooter-share startup, think U.S. cities are ready for a bigger, faster kind of boosted bike.

John Surico

Drake’s Latest Video Is a Throwback to a New Orleans That No Longer Exists

“In My Feelings” surfaces the places where you can find a good po’ boy. That’s great for the tourist, but doesn’t mean so much for the people and cultures that define the soul of the city.

Brentin Mock

Is All American Politics Really National Now?

There’s much we gloss over when talking about the role of place in our politics.

David Fontana

Animals Feel the Strain of Europe’s Heatwave

They’re getting shoes, taking shelter in tunnels, and finding other ways to keep cool in the dangerous heat.

Feargus O'Sullivan


Talked Up

(Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Seth Rogen is now the voice of public transit in Vancouver and Toronto. And with the comedy actor joining the ranks of public transit announcers who often become local celebrities in their own right, Team CityLab assembled our own nominations of who should remind riders to “mind the gap” or at least, mind their manners. Our suggestions spanned the gamut, from Judi Dench for the London Tube to Queen Latifah for Newark Light Rail.

Now we want to hear from you, CityLab readers! Who would you like to hear as the voice of the PSAs on your commute? Send us a line at hello@citylab.com


What We’re Reading

Taxi and Uber drivers are united in backing a cap on ride-hail vehicles (New York Times)

Flood thy neighbor: One Missouri town’s levee saga (ProPublica)

In expensive cities, rents fall for the rich but rise for the poor (Washington Post)

The outsize hold of the word “welfare” on the public imagination (New York Times)

Some businesses are refusing to hire DACA recipients. They are fighting back. (Vox)


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. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. Three men and one woman in professional dress sit onstage at a panel discussion.
    Equity

    Why Real Change Won’t Come From Billionaire Philanthropists

    In his new book Winners Take All, Anand Giridharadas argues that plutocrats have co-opted the language of social change while reinforcing their own power.

  3. A man sleeps in his car.
    Equity

    Finding Home in a Parking Lot

    The number of unsheltered homeless living in their cars is growing. Safe Parking programs from San Diego to King County are here to help them.

  4. A photo of an encampment of homeless people underneath an elevated highway in downtown Houston.
    Equity

    How Houston Has Virtually Ended Homelessness Among Veterans

    Can the city's model work for chronic homelessness, in Houston and beyond?

  5. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.