-- A writer at The Economist's blog Democracy in America  surveys the body count attributed to political corruption in The Windy City.

-- In this classic New Yorker piece, Joe Morgenstern recounts the story of a highly respected structural engineer who won accolades for his work on a Manhattan skyscraper, only to discover after its erection that it might collapse in a strong wind. It is a rare instance of a powerful urban elite blowing the whistle on himself, risking his career, and racing against time to prevent a catastrophe.

-- Good Magazine has a contest: design the best school garden of any entrant, and they'll build it for kids in the LA Unified School District. Caitlin Flanagan wrote skeptically of school gardens in a recent issue of The Atlantic. A critic responded here.

-- In Buenos Aires, official efforts are underway to revive literature's place in daily life.

-- Farhad Manjoo test drives an electric bicycle, and argues that its an innovation capable of changing our cities.