CityLab Daily: The Life-Saving Benefits of ‘Superblocks’

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What We’re Following

Blockbuster hit: When Barcelona created its first “superblock” in 2016, it was fiercely controversial. The city took a three-square-block chunk of the city and closed it off to vehicle traffic, reserving it instead for pedestrians and cyclists. But it didn’t take long for residents to appreciate the new space they had to walk, play, and socialize. Since then, five more car-free enclaves have been implemented around the city, and the Spanish capital is dreaming about ultimately turning nearly 70 percent of its street space over to people, via a total of 503 superblocks.

While that vision is sure to meet more resistance, a new study offers some new evidence for seeing it through: It could deliver vast improvements to public health. A team of scientists estimates that the city could prevent 667 premature deaths every year by following through on the full plan, which would reduce exposure to air pollution, traffic noise, and heat. CityLab’s Laura Bliss has the story: Barcelona’s “Superblocks” Could Bring Big Health Benefits

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

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Coastal metros are building more multi-family units than in the past, but it’s still not enough. Meanwhile, in some Sun Belt metros, new building outpaces jobs.

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Why Are America’s Three Biggest Metros Shrinking?

After a post-recession boomlet, the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago areas are all seeing their population decline.

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In New York, Corporate Incentives Are in the Political Crosshairs

After the collapse of Amazon’s HQ2 deal, New York State lawmakers are preparing bills to curb what they call “corporate welfare.” And they’re not alone.

Sarah Holder

The City Has Food to Share. Do You Know Where to Find It?

A New York-based design duo proposes a “forage beacon” that makes it clear when food—like fruit, nuts, and vegetables—is ripe and safe to eat in the city.

Karen Loew

In Charleston, the Real Flooding Crisis Is Only Beginning

The historic South Carolina city escaped the worst of the latest storm, but rising seas and an aging drainage system may soon bring chronic inundation.

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Within Reach

The view of the Reach from inside the Skylight Pavilion. (Richard Barnes)

Since it opened 48 years ago, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., has been criticized for lacking some basic amenities and a sense of scale. But this past weekend, the Kennedy Center welcomed a new expansion, the Reach, which strives to convey the sense of lightness, movement, and intimacy that the original building lacks. CityLab’s Kriston Capps writes that the new buildings’ swooping exteriors and textured concrete interiors lend an “improvisational air” to the Reach while also boasting “some of the finest, most exacting finishes in the city.” Read his review of the space: The Kennedy Center’s ‘Reach’ Expansion Is a Beautiful Maze

What We’re Reading

Teens aren’t allowed to use Uber or Lyft alone. That doesn’t stop them. (Vox)

Kamala Harris releases a criminal justice plan (New York Times)

Is transit ridership loss inevitable? A U.S.-France comparison (The Transport Politic)

Locked out of L.A.’s white neighborhoods, they built a black suburb. Now they’re homeless.
(Los Angeles Times)

How school buses became yellow (Smithsonian)

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