London's plan to grow up might go down, Elon Musk's quest to make electric cars cool, and funny anti-Rob Ford ads appear in Toronto. Plus: Learning from streets in Vietnam, Paris, and Manhattan. All this and more in this week's Urban Reads.

  • A large and influential group of Londoners have launched a campaign against 200 new skyscrapers planned for the city [Guardian Cities]
  • "We at least could address the false perception that people have that an electric car had to be ugly and slow and boring like a golf cart." Tesla founder Elon Musk on this week's 60 Minutes [CBS]
  • How do you rebrand a country? Designers were tapped to make Japan "cool" [Smithsonian]
  • "Traffic in Vietnamese cities operates much like it did in the U.S. a century ago, when the streets were filled with not only cars and trolleys but also pedestrians, cart-pulling vendors, sauntering livestock, moseying bicycles and horse-drawn carriages, all of it moving in a low-speed, highly alert mishmash." There's a lot to learn from Da Nang's shared streets [Next City]
  • In praise of slow cities: 37 percent of Paris's streets have a 20 mile-per-hour speed limit [Resilence.org]
  • Walking the secret alleys and hidden courtyards of tiny Grove Street in Manhattan [Untapped Cities]
  • There's a brand-new $200 million airport outside L.A. And it's sitting empty [KPCC]
  • "He promises to just smoke pot as mayor. Not crack." Delightfully good anti-Rob Ford ads in Toronto [Mashable]
  • Will women ever feel completely safe on public transit? [Atlantic Cities]
  • The mining town of Kiruna, Sweden is collapsing, so engineers are moving the entire community two miles to the east [Gizmodo]

Top image—by Tim Griffith Photography—is the Cayan Tower in Dubai, one of the finalists in Architizer's A+ Awards, which were announced today.