Portland celebrates another safe year for cyclists, Hamburg goes car-free, San Francisco rents its curbs to tech buses, Houston's got some wacky architecture, and L.A. is the city of the future—or a city in decline? It's all in this week's Urban Reads.

  • In 2013, the city of Portland, Oregon, reported zero bike fatalities—again. They also had zero bike fatalities in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, and 2010 [Bike Portland]
  • Hamburg, Germany—the tenth-largest city in Europe—just unveiled a plan to become essentially car-free in 20 years [Switchboard]
  • "I'm not certain I've become an example to anyone or necessarily changed a whole lot for the better. But I'm still here. I go to bed and I wake up every day in Detroit, in a house I built with my own hands. Sometimes success means just holding on." Why this guy bought a house in Detroit for $500 [BuzzFeed]
  • San Francisco will charge the Silicon Valley's tech buses curbside rent to the tune of about $100,000 a year [Atlantic Cities]
  • Sweaty armpits and spilled coffee never gets old: People running for the bus in slow motion [The Bold Italic]
  • A new study reports that Los Angeles is a city in decline, suffering from "a crisis of leadership and direction" [Los Angeles Times]
  • In other news, Los Angeles is America's next great city, "a Great City in the heart of the City That Destroyed Cities" [GQ]
  • "How can we use architectural tools and insights in order to enhance…territorial peace agreements? How do you create a border within a city that does not really destroy the city?" Two Israeli architects started a firm that offers "resolution planning," the idea that design and architecture can be tools for peace [Curbed]
  • Seven buildings and neighborhoods that would never fly anywhere but Houston [Next City]

Opening image courtesy of Maya Sugarman—who you should be following on Instagram. She snapped it while on assignment for KPCC assembling this then-and-now gallery of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. 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.