Subway Maps; Street Art Sellouts; and Stealth Dorms: Urban Insights From Around the Web

INSIGHTS :  Nov. 13, 2015

Ryan Holeywell | November 13, 2015A new feature highlighting the week’s interesting, important and downright weird news about cities.

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A new feature highlighting the week’s interesting, important and downright weird news about cities.

While the Urban Edge strives to provide readers with daily news and insights about urban policy, we’re also voracious readers of city news ourselves. As part of a new weekly feature, senior editor Ryan Holeywell and the staff of the Kinder Institute highlight the week’s most interesting articles from around the web about urban policy and city life.

Are Millennial 'Stealth Dorms' Ruining Texas Cities?

Fort Worth's city council is working to combat so-called "stealth dorms" -- houses with groups of unrelated people living together. The new ordinance in the city, home to Texas Christian University, prevents more than five unrelated people from living together in a single-family home, regardless of its size, City Lab reports. A similar campaign is underway in Austin, home to the massive University of Texas.

From dissident to decorative: why street art sold out and gentrified our cities

A piece from The Conversation that’s making waves online this week argues that corporate interests have "commandeered" urban graffiti, robbing it of its rebellious aesthetic. Rather than being used to undermine authority, today, street art is now used as an amenity to lure knowledge workers and the creative class to trendy areas being promoted by developers.

Why designers can’t stop reinventing the subway map

Washington Post’s Wonkblog explores why designers just can’t resist the appeal of studying and tweaking maps of the world’s most famous subway systems. “There'll always be at least one designer out there who looks at a particular map and says, 'I can do better than that!'" one artist explained. Take a look at the evolution of New York’s subway map and some creative attempts to improve it.

Public Officials Who Are Making a Difference

Governing’s “Public Officials of the Year” award is the closest thing municipal government has to the Oscars. Prepare to be truly inspired by this year’s class of state and local officials who earned accolades from the magazine. Especially intriguing: the husband and wife cops who are trying to make inroads with the community in Watts.

Want To Make A School Better? Get Kids To Show Up

Students who miss just two days of school per month are far more likely to drop out, so education experts across the country are exploring ways to improve attendance, NPR reports. One solution: get the community involved. In Baltimore, one school has dental students visit regularly. That way, toothaches don’t keep kids at home.

Houston anti-HERO activists take aim at Dallas law

A week after defeating Houston’s proposed equal rights ordinance, conservative activists now have their sights set on Dallas, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Houston group stoked fears that the law would make it easier for predators to molest children by using women's bathrooms. They say they'll use the same tactics to try to repeal recent moves by the Dallas City Council that strengthened protections for transgender residents.

Ryan Holeywell


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