馃暣锔忦煏达笍An Announcement馃暣锔忦煏达笍

I鈥檓 taking a break from regular programming to announce an offshoot of this newsletter that launches today: a subscribers-only weekly installment that explores cities and urbanism-adjacent issues in greater depth.

The secret of my current Friday newsletter is that it鈥檚 not really about cities, even if that鈥檚 how I usually describe it to others; my guiding principle has been to write the best possible 750 words on whatever I鈥檓 thinking about during a given week, within a loosely-defined range, and that frequently does include urbanism, but often just indirectly. Which is all to say: I want to write about cities more, and I want to give that writing its own place.

The best reason to create something is because you want to see it in the world but it doesn鈥檛 already exist, and I often find myself pining for urbanism essays that nobody else is writing. One reason I try to avoid the term 鈥渦rban planning鈥 (despite having a master鈥檚 degree in it) is that most urban planning isn鈥檛 actually done by urban planners, but rather by a multitude of other industries from finance to tech to real estate鈥攚hich is why I seem to end up writing about those industries as much as my own field. The best urbanist writing recognizes this, but I believe there鈥檚 still a shortage of it. As a reader as well as a writer, meanwhile, I鈥檝e noticed a huge appetite for understanding cities in general that extends far beyond the limits of the professionally interested. We鈥檙e all currently living through the most turbulent and fascinating phase of urban change in recent memory, and the future of cities is less certain than ever but no less critical. There鈥檚 a lot of chaotic information coming our way and an urgent need to process and interpret it鈥攁n effort to which this newsletter will hopefully contribute.

I鈥檒l begin sending this new issue to subscribers mid-next week. Nothing about the Friday newsletter will change鈥攊t will keep going out as is, and it will still be free. Like I said, the subscriber-only pieces will be longer-form explorations of specific topics involving cities, and paid subscriptions will enable me to spend more time researching and writing them. My favorite newsletter, Matt Levine鈥檚 Money Stuff, is one source of inspiration for the format and overall vibe, if you鈥檙e trying to understand how I鈥檓 approaching this. Subscriptions will cost $5/month or $50/year, but are 20% off if you sign up before the end of August during the 鈥渂eta鈥 period. Think of that as the price of one restaurant meal you didn鈥檛 get to eat in 2020.

We鈥檙e all stakeholders in cities to some degree, whether we live in one or not. Regardless of what your relationship to the urban environment is, I think you鈥檒l find this relevant, but even if not, feel free to pass this along to someone you think might be. You can subscribe using the button below. And even if you don鈥檛 subscribe but still want to help me out, feel free to share this (you can even just retweet this).

One other reason I鈥檓 using the paid subscription model for this expanded offering is to give you an easy way not to receive it, if you happen to be content with one short email a week from me. I鈥檝e always felt that it鈥檚 an enormous privilege to publish anything and actually have someone spend time reading it. It鈥檚 an even greater privilege to email that writing directly to a bunch of people鈥檚 inboxes. I鈥檝e maintained the format of my newsletter somewhat obsessively over the past three years because I鈥檓 aware of that unspoken agreement between myself and all of you, and if I鈥檓 going to start sending more emails, I鈥檇 rather you opt in than have to opt out.

So, thanks for your support! We鈥檒l be back on the normal program next week.

Drew Austin