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Why Cities Change Their Names; Imagining 1915 Boston; More!

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Welcome to Curbed's weekly roundup of architecture, real estate, and urban planning-related feature stories. Please be in touch if you have a story to recommend.

1. Several cities in Ohio have temporarily changed their names in advance of the upcoming Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio Buckeyes football game. They aren't the only cities to take such tactics, The Guardian explains. Here are a few other silly city name changes:

Google, Kansas (AKA Topeka) adopted its new name for a month, in an attempt to woo the web giant to establish superfast internet connections in random American cities through its Fibre for Communities scheme. And Clark, Texas renamed itself Dish, Texas in a deal with Dish Network in 2005. As part of the deal, the company hooked up 55 homes in the town with basic cable for free for a decade; in return, they got a bunch of free advertising (I'm giving them some right now). 2. How does city living affect animal evolution? New York Magazine looks at the work of Jason Munshi-South, an evolutionary biologist who studies the way mice have adapted to different NYC environments.

How New York City has changed the white-footed mouse is a perfect example. Before the 1700s, the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) roamed the vast woodlands that once covered the five boroughs. New York City's expansion sliced up that native habitat into scattered fragments of greenery, isolating numerous groups of mice, who fear the open roads and highways and stick to much safer areas thick with foliage. Such geographic isolation drives evolution and can even cleave a single species in two. 3. Hartford, Connecticut, former insurance capital of the world, has a reputation for being "dull, dangerous, and hopeless." But when photographer Pablo Delano moved to the city, he found much to contradict that reputation. He shares some of his work, now on display at the Connecticut Historical Society, with the New York Times Lens blog.

4. In November 1909, an art museum in Copley Square, Boston, launched an exhibition imagining the Boston of 1915. The exhibit covered all kinds of ideas, from the creation of a Municipal Athletic Association to tenement reform; it was organized by members of a movement for cooperation, rather than competition, "as the organizing principle of modern life." The Boston Globe takes a fascinating look at the movement and its exhibition:

Boston thus became a national incubator for the theory and practice of city planning. In the 19th century, elected officials and city engineers had been the junior partners to private land speculators and industrial developers. Such an arrangement, reformers believed, was neither democratic nor efficient. They saw professionally trained planners, acting in the public interest, as the proper stewards of a new city's complicated mechanisms. · Recommended Reading archive [Curbed]