CityLab Daily: Would You Ride a Helicopter to Work?

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What We’re Following

Chopping time: The latest industry vying for commuters isn’t on the road; it’s in the sky. A handful of on-demand helicopter services have recently begun running flights in U.S. cities. These companies are testing people’s hopes for a faster alternative to the on-the-ground rush hour at a fraction of the cost of chartering a traditional chopper.

But is anyone really asking for this? CityLab’s West Coast bureau chief Laura Bliss took a short hop on a Voom helicopter from Palo Alto to San Francisco to find out if dropping a few hundred bucks is worth it for the time it saves. While flying over traffic feels like “cheating physics,” Laura writes that “helicopter commuting is laden with some significant caveats.” Read her story: The Urban Helicopter Dream Is Rising Again

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

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You might think planners—and urbanists in general—congregate in big coastal metros. But planning jobs are growing fastest elsewhere.

Richard Florida

The Hidden History of American Anti-Car Protests

A wave of traffic safety activism in the 1970s helped reshape Dutch streets. But the U.S. had its own anti-car movement earlier, led largely by women.

Peter Norton

Five Radical Climate Policies That Most Americans Actually Like

Most registered voters are in favor of spending trillions on weatherized buildings and renewable-energy infrastructure.

Robinson Meyer

Meet Los Angeles’s First-Ever Forest Officer

L.A. set a goal to plant 90,000 new trees by the end of 2021 as part of the city’s New Green Deal. Here’s how they’ll do it.

Jackie Flynn Mogensen


Zürich Irony

Norman Garrick/CityLab

The photo above shows a pretty typical street in Zürich, Switzerland, but it represents a kind of Rorschach Test for transportation planning. How you see it depends if you’re a pedestrian, on a bike, in a car, or on the tram. But it says even more about how a city allocates space. Not only does the street give tramlines priority over car lanes; the pedestrian-friendly streetscape allows for a lot of other amenities that might not exist if engineers tried to optimize the road for car travel. Civil engineering professor and transportation planner Norman Garrick uses this image to illustrate what’s wrong with so many other urban thoroughfares. On CityLab: What Does This Street In Zürich Mean?


What We’re Reading

What happened to the teens who learned to drive during an oil crisis (Washington Post)

Hundreds lose their driving licenses during Oktoberfest e-scooter mayhem in Munich (CNN)

Why everything is getting louder (The Atlantic)

Homelessness is now part of all of our lives. Here’s what you can do to help. (The Guardian)

Nearly 600,000 New Yorkers are eligible to have their records sealed. Fewer than 1,800 of them have succeeded. (The Appeal)


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