Summary of “The Varied, Still-Evolving History of San Vicente’s Basket Tacos”

While many of these basket tacos come from villages like San Vicente, about two hours east of Mexico City in the state of Tlaxcala, there is nothing more chilango than tacos de canasta.
San Vicente likes to bill itself as the one true home of the capital’s most emblematic dish, but like most everything in Mexico’s mammoth capital, the taco de canasta belongs to many places at once, created primarily by the drift of population between town and country that defined Mexico City in the 20th century.
According to Jeffrey Pilcher, author of Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food, those first tacos were probably quite similar to what we now know as a taco de canasta: a small tortilla folded around a simple, stewed filling and packed tightly in napkins to keep it warm.
“What’s now called tacos de canasta,” Pilcher says, “Was originally tacos mineros”-miners’ tacos.
The idea for the feria came from another San Vicente taquero, Zeferino Ruiz, who first started selling tacos in 1978 when he was 15 years old.
Whether the taco de canasta is the product of a particular man or woman, whether it’s really from San Vicente or Mexico City or Guadalajara or the abandoned barracks of a defunct silver mine is really beside the point.
Tacos mineros, tacos sudados, tacos de canasta; they all have their part to play in the creation of a tradition, both for an immense metropolis and a small village that, without it, might well have disappeared.
San Vicente describes itself as “The cradle of the taco de canasta,” but really San Vicente is just one part of its history.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Global Mass Transit Revolution”

The world is building mass transit networks faster than ever before, and ridership is increasing to match.
The United States continues to lag behind both Asia and Europe in mass transit.
New York is the only North American city to rank among the global top-ten busiest transit systems.
That’s according to a report published by UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, which takes a close look at mass transit systems in 182 cities across the world.
Urban mass transit systems have exploded in recent decades as the world’s population has rapidly urbanized.
New York City is the only U.S. city with a transit system that numbers among the world’s ten busiest; many other U.S. cities saw their transit ridership decline in the past six years.
While there is much talk of driverless cars, the reality is that driverless or fully-automated mass transit is coming on stream much more quickly.
Even though fully automated systems make up just 7 percent of transit systems today, the study predicts the rapid “Mainstreaming” of fully automated metro transit, which does not require any human staff on board, in the coming years.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Swiss Lesson in Enlightened Street Design”

Above is a picture of a pretty typical city street in Zürich, Switzerland.
Having lost local retailers like the neighborhood grocery, city residents would now have to drive to get food, adding even more cars to the mix.
To give just one example, a few years ago a former student of mine, Kristin Floberg, studied old fire-insurance maps to inventory every structure in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, then built a 3-D map showing what the city looked like in 1913, before it was “Engineered” to address traffic congestion.
In particular, planners made the fateful decision to build two major multi-lane automotive thoroughfares, Interstate 95 and Route 8, right through Bridgeport’s downtown during the great wave of “Urban renewal” of the 1960s and ’70s. But the process of reshaping the city to fit the automobile started earlier than that: In his book Fighting Traffic, the transportation historian Peter Norton documented how this kind of destruction was planned, designed, and executed as far back as the 1920s.
Bridgeport is not unique or even particularly extreme: Cities all over the world have been hobbled because avoiding traffic congestion became the primary consideration in transportation planning.
Starting around 1970, the city began a far-sighted effort to strengthen transit and discourage car travel, including by taking the radical step of reducing parking in the city center.
The city we see today is a result of numerous incremental changes over decades that all had the same goal of making the city transit friendly.
Today, Zürich, a city of 400,000, keeps extending its already extensive streetcar system.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Much Money Do Parking Lots Actually Make?”

Paid parking lots: Those slabs of asphalt in the middle of cities with narrow spaces and often extortionate rates are pretty much a necessary evil if you own a car and spend any time in the city.
Oftentimes, surface parking lots are a long-term play, according to Bawolek.
There’s simply lots more urban living than there was even 10 years ago and running a surface parking lot is like putting your quarter on the arcade machine until it makes financial sense to build that building.
It’s pretty easy to figure how much one near the baseball stadium will make on game day when parking costs, say, $50, and you see that it has 30 spots or whatever.
Bawolek calls paid parking lots “Reasonably profitable,” bearing in mind all the variables, the main one of which is the old real-estate saw – location, location, etc.
Do parking lots get specifically taxed for anything?
Much depends on who’s parking there, and again, where it’s located.
Basically, whether it’s a car sitting in a single spot or a whole lot on a city block, parking, it seems, is always just a temporary occurrence: Usually an expensive one for you, a profitable one for the parking operator and a cost-covering one for the landowner.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Troubled Waters: After Harvey, Has Houston Learned Anything?”

As a Houston Chronicle editorial noted at the time, “We must not forget this tragedy as we did the one in 1929. Houston has been visited by four serious floods in the last 40 years, each worse than the preceding one. The Chronicle has pointed out repeatedly since 1929 that the … development of widespread Houston residential sections, with storm sewers turning floods of water into the bayou after every rain, has steadily increased the hazard.”
As famed architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote in the New York Times during the boom years of the seventies, “Houston is all process and no plan. Gertrude Stein said of Oakland that there was no t.here, there. One might say of Houston that one never gets there. It feels as if one is always on the way, always arriving, always looking for the place where everything comes together.”
Of course, there are a lot of people here with a lot of good ideas for recovering from Harvey and protecting Houston from future storms.
In the past year, innumerable let’s-do-this studies have been published, with titles like “Build It Forward,” “Houston at the Crossroads: Resilience and Sustainability in the 21st Century,” and the surely compelling “Greater Houston Strategies for Flood Mitigation.” Most consist of similar concepts, ranging from the mundane to the spectacular: buying out homes in irretrievably flood-prone neighborhoods, building higher foundations in areas that can be protected from all but the worst flooding, improving drainage, widening bay.
Thanks to a spate of post-Harvey articles published everywhere from the Houston Chronicle to the Atlantic, many around Houston know that a) the Netherlands floods a lot, and b) because of that, the Dutch have become the world’s leading experts in combating flooding.
You may recall Governor Greg Abbott’s snide remark in June 2017 that it was “Great to be out of the People’s Republic of Austin.” This prompted a retort from Houston mayor Sylvester Turner in the Houston Chronicle.
McCasland, wearing a navy City of Houston polo, moved through a PowerPoint presentation highlighting changes he hoped to make in housing policies so that “Next time it rains here, people don’t die in Houston.”
When Harvey hit, irreparably damaging 150,000 or so homes, that squeeze got even tighter for folks in Houston.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Will Cities Ever Outsmart Rats?”

Cities have entire teams dedicated to controlling the rat population, and for good reason.
Some cities are shifting gears to get one step ahead of the rats.
As program manager for Washington, D.C.’s Rodent Control Division, he’s considered a local rat guru-but the answer to his challenge may just come from someone who didn’t know anything about rats before this year.
The city of Chicago is still running Neill’s predictive analytics approach and has touted that it’s 20 percent more effective than the traditional method of baiting rats after they’ve been discovered.
His lab has captured more than 500 rats from almost all of the borough’s 40-some ZIP codes, and sequenced the genome of around 250 of them, looking to see how the rats relate to one another.
Rats in northern Manhattan are more closely related to one another than to rats farther south, and vice-versa.
“Rats start to split into two major groups right around Midtown, where you have kind of an uptown set of rats and a downtown set of rats,” Munshi-South tells CityLab.
Trapping rats is a feat in itself: rats are clever and don’t easily fall for new traps.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An Ode to Running in the City”

Here’s the thing: occasionally, and unexpectedly, I’m hit with a bout of nostalgia for a run through the city.
Most of the time, I specifically long for nighttime city runs.
Before I moved to D.C., I lived in Boston-a city overflowing with running culture and history.
On those inevitable rough days when the miles inched by and I forgot what it meant to be fast, it felt like I was out running with the rest of the city.
Because of the crowds and inherent busy nature of the city, living in one also often means returning to a small roster of reliable running routes.
Every morning, as I passed the same piers, tennis courts, and grassy parks, I was confronted by the same thoughts I’d had while running the identical route the day before-and I could watch as my thoughts slowly evolved for the better.
The banality of running the same route over and over turned my attention back toward myself; my surroundings acted as bookmarks for what I’d been thinking at that spot on the previous day’s run.
The nature of city running also makes any opportunity for a trail run-where you can find it-feel even more precious.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Newport, Kentucky, Lost the Title of ‘Sin City'”

Today Newport is a small, upstanding U.S. city near Cincinnati, yet during Prohibition, and for decades after, Newport was a hotbed of gambling, prostitution, organized crime, and widespread corruption.
As a footballer, Ratterman cut an almost cartoonish figure of the handsome, corn-fed American hero, so he made a perfect law-and-order candidate for Newport sheriff.
Shortly before 3 a.m. on May 9, 1961, Ratterman was arrested at the Glenn Hotel in Newport on charges related to prostitution, based on an anonymous tip.
Ratterman had no idea where he was and said he couldn’t remember how he had gotten there.
After just one drink, Ratterman claimed he’d lost track of the night, remembering only being in a strange apartment and at one point having people pull at his clothes.
Once the Feds, angry locals, and righteous heroes such as Ratterman combined forces in Newport, the days of Sin City were over.
Ratterman served as sheriff for just four years, but by the end of his tenure it seems the criminals that had held sway in the city for so long were pretty much leaving on their own.
Today, the title of Sin City is so firmly associated with Las Vegas that it’s hard to remember that there was once another city that more than earned the name.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Dallas, Texas, Is the 2019 Restaurant City of the Year”

“We’ve always been looking over our shoulders at Houston,” says the first guy I meet in Dallas, his tone dramatic.
Though Dallas and its food scene have long been overlooked in favor of other Texas towns, today, the city’s in the midst of a renaissance, with excellent new restaurants and bars opening so fast and so furious that it’s hard to keep up.
It’s not just one person or one thing that’s driving the change, but rather Dallas’ community of highly ambitious chefs, hailing from all different backgrounds, working independently and yet with a palpable sense of synchronicity.
These chefs are ditching the large-scale restaurant group models of yesteryear and instead forging their own paths, creating highly specific, highly personal spaces that feel more like stepping directly into said chef’s brain.
I was actually born in Dallas, but until this past summer hadn’t been back for a proper visit since elementary school.
So I enlisted the help of some locals-including the Dallas Observer’s infinitely knowledgeable food critic, Brian Reinhart-to help me look past the slick football-field-sized steakhouses I remembered and discover instead a city of thriving neighborhoods, each boasting its own homegrown gems.
Tucked into a former gas station on a quiet street in old East Dallas is a wonderland of dried flowers, jars of fermenting shiso leaves, and animal skulls.
Chef Misti Norris is doing crazy and incredible things with animal parts, homemade pastas, and fermentation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A California Dream”

California City, California, is the third-largest city by area in America’s third-largest state, and most of it barely even qualifies as a ghost town-a ghost town needs people to have lived there first.
Prior to California City, he worked with famed real estate developer M. Penn Phillips, who helped build California’s Salton City-a resort community that was practically built out of nothing, only to collapse at the end of the ’70s. In 1958 Mendelsohn, working with investors, bought 82,000 acres of land in the desert to develop a metropolis.
The radio jingle for the town said it all: “Buy a piece of the Golden State / You’ll be sitting pretty when you come to California City.” People could buy a vacant lot for $990. Three-bedroom homes went for less than $10,000.
California City is a two-hour drive from Los Angeles.
According to the California City Police Department, last Thanksgiving saw 75,000 to 100,000 people tooling around the desert.
Each fall for the last couple years, California City has played host to Wasteland Weekend, a festival celebrating dystopian style.
It’s a post-apocalyptic Burning Man, and California City’s endless desert roads are the perfect stage.
“There’s nothing to see-but that’s the point. California City rewards people who approach it with an imaginative sense of what it can be.”

The orginal article.