San Francisco's tech companies are bringing it down, L.A.'s having trouble growing up, plus sexy cabbies, vertical cemeteries, Bloomberg's next act, and much, much more in this week's Urban Reads.

  • Michael Bloomberg is starting an urban think tank and taking most of his City Hall team with him [New York Times]
  • The 60-year-old theory that can still pretty much predict the size of a country's biggest cities [i09]
  • One likely reality in our ever-densifying, vertically growing cities? Cemetery skyscrapers [Gizmodo]
  • In L.A., a judge has ruled that Hollywood's new community plan to allow taller buildings and denser development is "fatally flawed" [Los Angeles Times]
  • This urban explorer's photo essay includes some daring (and highly illegal) activities [Co.Exist]
  • "One might hope that buildings and neighborhoods where the future is being shaped might reflect a similar sense of innovation. Even a little personality would be nice." Paul Goldberger on the new wave of starchitect-designed tech company campuses... [Vanity Fair]
  • …but Allison Arieff argues that tech companies are still, for the most part, not very good urbanists... [New York Times]
  • …maybe because some tech leaders still think San Francisco is "overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash" [Valleywag]
  • Meanwhile, a faked protest on Google's employee bus leads to a real conversation about a public-private partnership with the city to improve bus stops [Next City]
  • In case you've found yourself lusting after your cabbie: New York City's taxi drivers have posed for a sexy calendar [Atlantic Cities]

Opening image courtesy of Michael Lopp—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.



Hope Bloomberg can come to understand that most of America does not need or want him. What kind of urban planning is he thinking of exporting? A thuggish police force that engages in racial profiling, and is answerable to no one except the billionaire playboy who refers to it as his "own personal army"? Ubiquitous public surveillance cameras? Nanny state interference in our private choices? The complete disarming of all civilians? Do us all a favor Bloomberg, and stay in your glass tower.