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This week’s city reading: how Angelenos evolve, what “ghost signs” reveal, and the weakness of “best cities” lists

Why the ‘best cities to live in’ list rewards the safe and the clean (Gavin Haynes, The Guardian) “The Economist’s clientele are exactly the people David Goodhart characterised as the ‘Anywheres’ in The Road To Somewhere, his take on the populist revolt that gave us Brexit, Trump and global politics’ present weirdness. Unlike the more geographically immobile ‘Somewheres’, they are highly educated, highly mobile cosmopolitan globalists, of the kind deposited by huge corporations in Delft or Delaware to run a bureau or consult on a project. They want to plug-in-’n’-play.”

The Evolution of an Angeleno (Reed Alvarado, Getting There) “‘I love walking into these stations and imagining what they are going to look like in the future.’ It’s an interesting thought. Will there one day be enough traffic or political will power to justify the in-station concession stands we are used to in other cities? Will there be more digital visuals or art? More entrances and exits like the one that recently opened at 7th and Metro he uses to make his way to work?” (Don’t get me started on the whole “7th and Metro” thing.)

Your City’s ‘Ghost Signs’ Have Stories to Tell (Matthew Kruchak, Citylab) “When the side of a 111-year-old brick building lit up in Winnipeg, Canada, on a recent night in July, a crowd of about 50 people looked up to see a newly vivid message that had been there all along: “Porter & Co., crockery, china, glassware, lamps, silverware, cutlery.” A few moments later, the words faded and a new message appeared: “The Home of Milady Chocolates.” This late-night light show was a seance of sorts, and Craig Winslow was the medium.”

Dongdaemun Postcard: From Stall to Tower, Merchant to Tourist (Sydney Yejin Chun, Korea Exposé) “‘The most difficult part of my job is probably interacting with customers of different ethnicities. It’s really bad, but I find that I’m so much more comfortable with Korean people,’ said Shim at the stall. ‘It’s much easier to strike up a quick conversation and chat with them, which also makes it easier to sell products. But I’m in the process of improving on my interactions with other customers.'”

The Auto Frame: a Vehicle for Transgression? (Nick Kaufmann, Medium) “This ‘automotive frame’ developed throughout early controversies of ‘jay drivers’ vs. ‘jay walkers’ and subsequent push by industry leaders like Charles Hayes to cast blame for collisions away from the vehicle itself, and frame the street as the rightful domain of the car. Hayes ‘warned his colleagues that bad publicity over traffic casualties could soon lead to ‘legislation that will hedge the operation of automobiles with almost unbearable restrictions.’ The solution was to persuade city people that “the streets are made for vehicles to run upon.'”

Why Seattle Builds Apartments, But Vancouver, BC, Builds Condos (Margaret Morales, Sightline Institute) “The short answer is economics. In Vancouver, apartments are saddled with an unfavorable tax code, making condos the more lucrative multi-family housing investment even despite high rental demand. In Seattle’s skyrocketing rental market, one that’s climbed even faster than the condo market in recent years, apartment buildings are much more financially attractive, while condos come with bigger risks and, typically, lower returns.”