Research Allowed without progressing to town/city level

With the latest 2/25/2022 release I started a new game. I soon noticed I was able to perform higher level research without moving to the next city level. I’ve intentionally stayed at settlement level in order to build infrastructure.
Not sure if this is something new or I just missed it in my first game but as you can see from this screenshot I have already researched trains and am currently researching large buildings. I don’t remember being able to do this in the previous version. Curious to if this research ability was intentional or an unplanned feature,… or of course I simply missed it earlier.

Either way, great game and wonderful to by the creators.

It was something they changed in a recent patch.

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