How your neighborhood was designed by racists. What it's like to sit behind the wheel of a car for four hours every day. The evils of alternate-side parking. And the beauty of traveling by antique rail car. All this and more, in this week's Urban Reads.

  • The racist policies that determined the way your neighborhood looks today [The Atlantic]
  • What it's like to spend up to four hours a day commuting in Los Angeles traffic [Zocalo]
  • "Mary Norris doesn't want other people to know where the block she dubs 'the Sanctuary' is located, so I won't provide the key details. But, like most streets in Manhattan, twice a week, parking is prohibited on each side of the Sanctuary under the 'alternate-side parking' program, which allows New York Department of Sanitation sweepers to clean the curb." The dark world of alternate-side parking [The Awl]
  • Visiting Detroit's fauxtopias: Suburban theme parks that try to tell the story of its manufacturing roots [Belt]
  • "The idea of being in a room with people, where you can have a conversation and listen to music, it's a completely different kind of travel than sitting three abreast in airline seats. There are people who have been there and done that. They're looking for heritage experiences. They want to understand what it was like for their parents and grandparents." Traveling from Chicago to New Orleans by antique rail car [New York Times]
  • Inside the real estate gags and architectural jokes of the urbanism-inspired comics of Ben Katchor [Curbed]
  • Meet Jim, Ava and Xavier—these are three of the 10 avatars created by census data that will drive New York's planning decisions [CityLab]
  • On the occasion of its 131st birthday, a quick history of the Brooklyn Bridge [Medium]
  • "Value capture": The unique way that São Paulo raises money for infrastructure projects [Citiscope]
  • The legendary designer who passed away this morning left his mark on subways, churches, stores, streets, and homes all over the world. RIP Massimo Vignelli [Gizmodo]

Top photo by Christopher Simmons. Have an image of your city you'd like to share? Tag it #gizmodocities or post it in the comments and we'll be in touch if we'd like to publish it.

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A developer in my city wanted to make a "whites only" neighborhood back in the 60's. The county council disapproved it, so he named all the streets in the neighborhood after famous confederate generals - thinking that the black population wouldn't want to live there.

Little did he know that 50 years later, no one would know who the heck the streets were named after (with the exception of maaaaybe Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee).