Martin Luther King's 1956 tips for riding integrated buses, examining how design has helped an Alabama county, building instant cities in Accra and instant skyscrapers in Mumbai, and how two New York architects are tearing down the work of their former friends. It's all this week in our favorite Urban Reads.
- "Do not deliberately sit by a white person, unless there is no other seat. If cursed, do not curse back. If pushed, do not push back." In 1956, Martin Luther King, Jr. drafted a letter on behalf of the Montgomery Improvement Association with advice and tips for riding the city's newly integrated buses [Slate]
- "It's safe to say that Hale County has done a lot for design. But what has design done for Hale County?" After 20 years of local interventions by architects, graphic designers, and other do-gooders, Rob Walker analyzes the impact on the residents of this tiny Alabama county [Fast Company]
- A planned tech center called Hope City outside Accra, Ghana is already being criticized as the latest in a series of instant, "fantasy" cities planned by developers that don't serve Africans' needs [The Guardian]
- "There are hundreds of skyscrapers being built, yet more than 60 percent of its citizens live in slums. Single families occupy immense towers, but the average living space is less than 14 square feet per person." A dizzying look at Mumbai's study in urban extremes [Gizmodo]
- The latest victim of the Museum of Modern Art's expansion: A decades-old friendship between two pairs of architects. Billie Tsien and Tod Williams designed the American Folk Art Museum building, and now their former friends Liz Diller and Ricardo Scofidio are recommending it be torn down as part of MoMA's renovation [New York Times]
- "This Monday is no different than most. Jonathan walks out into the Manhattan darkness at 4:30 a.m. and hops a cab to LaGuardia Airport. His flight leaves at 6, and at 8 he's expected at his desk in Cleveland." A Manhattan resident who reverse-commutes 450 miles so he can work at his family's business [Narratively via The Week]
- Two San Francisco artists are re-creating the city's tech bus battles in adorable dioramas [Valleywag]
- Bell Labs, the Eero Saarinen-designed corporate campus, may be revitalized as a new urban center for the city of Holmdel, New Jersey [Metropolis]
- Is this the most insane piece of highway infrastructure in the world? The gargantuan Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas [@transitized]
- To incorporate or not to incorporate? Small cities in California struggle with the financial and political challenges of becoming independent [Boom]
Opening image courtesy of JP Rosa—who you should be following on Instagram. Got an Instagram of your own you'd like us to use in our next link round-up? Tag it #gizmodocities and we'll be in touch if we want to post.