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. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  3. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  4. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  5. Life

    The Bias Hiding in Your Library

    The ways libraries classify books often reflect a “straight white American man” assumption.