Also: How Boston got its “T,” and remembering the “mother of all pandemics.”

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What We’re Following

Mythbusting: The urban-rural divide is a defining trope in American culture today, with the common refrain that cities are thriving and rural areas are in decline. But it’s more complicated than that: The divide is more of a spectrum that ranges from urbanized metropolitan counties to remote rural ones, and the economic fortunes of a place aren’t strictly tied to where it falls on that line.

A map shows shows U.S. counties on the urban-rural continuum.

Today on CityLab, Richard Florida kicks off a series that explores the myths and realities of urban and rural life in America. In the coming weeks, he’ll unpack what’s happening with jobs, wages, college grads, and the creative class across the urban-rural continuum. We start with population—and as it turns out, there’s more growth in some rural areas than you might expect.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Can Banning Privatization Keep Water Cheap, Safe, and Flowing?

Baltimore voters are deciding whether to ban privatization of the water utility. But without the infusion of private investment, can cities continue to afford providing safe, inexpensive water?

Sarah Holder

The Polarizing Mayor Who Embodied ‘Blue-Collar Conservatism’

Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia’s mayor from 1972 to 1980, appealed to “law and order” and white working-class identity—a sign of politics to come, says the author of a new book.

Jake Blumgart

How Boston Got Its ‘T’

Designers Peter Chermayeff and Tom Geismar talk about how they gave the MBTA an enduring makeover.

Mark Byrnes

Remembering the ‘Mother of All Pandemics,’ 100 Years Later

The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 offers important lessons in balancing truth and panic during public health crises.

Linda Poon

Rio's National Museum Fire Was Not Just an Accident

The fire that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro was part of a larger campaign of disinvestment aimed at the country’s history and culture.

Tarcyla Fidalgo


Traffic Flow

A photo shows a flooded road in North Carolina.
A flooded road in Rocky Point, North Carolina. (Ernest Scheydar/Reuters)

Even after Hurricane Florence dissipated over the Carolinas, the historic dump of rain has left many highways looking more like waterways. Huge swaths of Interstate 40 and Interstate 95 remain inaccessible by vehicle, with roads facing flood levels well beyond what they were designed to withstand. CityLab’s Karim Doumar rounded up photos of the waterlogged highways in the region, and explains why it could still be some time before the roads are passable.

Also: The Washington Post has a harrowing story of a mother who lost her 1-year-old son driving through North Carolina after the storm.


What We’re Reading

In flood-hit public housing, a reminder that the poor bear the brunt of storms’ fury (New York Times)

Portland explores legalizing more housing options (Sightline)

The #MeToo movement hits McDonald’s (New Republic)

Man caught shaving on train in viral video says don’t judge (AP)

Reading the New South (New York Times)


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