Also: Why San Francisco opened a mock safe injection site, and Florence comes after hungry tourists.

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What We’re Following

Jamming: As the urbanist aphorism goes: Widening roads to reduce congestion is like loosening your belt to cure obesity. Yet nearly all freeway expansions and new highways are sold to the public as a way to reduce traffic. Anyone who’s stuck on the road has had the thought: If there were only one more lane, everyone would move faster.

An illustration shows cars on the road.
(Madison McVeigh/CityLab)

The problem is, it doesn’t always work that way—in fact, congestion can stay just as bad, or get even worse. Economists have a name for this phenomenon: induced demand. Basically, when you provide more of something, people are more likely to use it. In the latest edition of CityLab University, Benjamin Schneider gives a crash course in induced demand and why it has vexed drivers, planners, and politicians since the dawn of the automobile age.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Why San Francisco Opened a Mock Safe Injection Site

The city wants to showcase the public health benefits of the controversial idea. But the Justice Department has vowed to crack down on any attempt to open a real one in the U.S.

Sarah Holder

A Second Life For Berlin’s Plattenblau

The city is looking to the ubiquitous building type from its Communist past to help solve a housing crunch.

Feargus O'Sullivan

To Clear Up Busy Streets, Florence Targets Hungry Tourists

The Italian city is imposing a €500 fine for eating in some popular, crowded areas.

Feargus O'Sullivan

The Not-So-Invisible Labor Prisoners Do in Cities

In a nationwide prison strike, the U.S.’s incarcerated population is demanding better wages and an end to “slave labor.”

Sarah Holder

Black Colleges Have to Pay More for Loans Than Other Schools

And there’s no factor that can explain it other than racism.

Adam Harris


What We’re Reading

Houston’s roads and drivers are the most deadly in the U.S. (Houston Chronicle)

IBM used NYPD surveillance footage to develop technology that lets police search by skin color (The Intercept)

How the Army Corps’ hesitation nearly destroyed a city (ProPublica)

States are losing millions in biking and walking funds (Streetsblog)

Reader suggestion: Take a look at one of the best video game cities (Polygon)


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