CityLab Gets a New Editor, a New Look and a New Vision

The journey from Atlantic Cities to CityLab

The six-year-old CityLab began its life as Atlantic Cities, receiving a name change and its own site in 2014. Even more changes have arrived with a new redesign announced today.

Gone is the “from The Atlantic” branding that accompanied the previous iteration. That’s not a mere cosmetic change, but the fruits of a growth plan the site embarked upon last year: The move brings with it marketing, product and sales teams working specifically on CityLab, and an advertising strategy focused on native advertising and custom ad units. The site has also joined Atlantic Media’s collection of brands like Defense One and Government Executive, enjoying an independent identity while still remaining part of The Atlantic.

There are new visuals and content areas, as well as a new editor to lead its reconceived vision. Nicole Flatow has been named editor and will assume her duties next month. Most recently, Flatow had been enterprise editor for Guardian US, joining in 2015 from ThinkProgress, where she had been senior editor. She also has a law degree, and the focus of her legal work had been on housing policy.

“Cities are now the engines of innovation, global culture, and our economies,” said general manager Rob Bole in a statement. “In order to capitalize on this moment, CityLab has refocused its editorial and revenue strategies on how cities are succeeding in creating solutions to 21st century challenges. I welcome the leadership and experience Nicole is bringing to grow our urban-based solutions journalism and expand our use of data and visual storytelling to report on important urban stories.”

The redesign includes focused coverage around five verticals: Design, Transportation, Environment, Equity, and Life, a reflection of both the evergreen ways we think about cities as well as contemporary concerns and issues that leave their imprint on city life.

New features include popular extras like weekly newsletters, with two available now and more coming, an opinion section for contributors to offer city improvement solutions, and additional solutions in the form of advice and toolkits to inspire its audience to act. There will also be live events packaged as “urban workshops.”

The offerings reflect a shift back from an earlier play for a more generalized audience toward tailored content largely, but not exclusively, for an audience of urban experts and city planning professionals.