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. Design

    New York City Will Require Bird-Friendly Glass on Buildings

    Hundreds of thousands of migratory birds smash into the city’s buildings every year. The city council just passed a bill to cut back on the carnage.

  2. a map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  3. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  4. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

  5. photo: A man boards a bus in Kansas City, Missouri.
    Transportation

    Why Kansas City’s Free Transit Experiment Matters

    The Missouri city is the first major one in the U.S. to offer no-cost public transportation. Will a boost in subsidized mobility pay off with economic benefits?

×