Alana Semuels

Alana Semuels

Alana Semuels is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was previously a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

The End of Public Transit?

Start-ups are proving more efficient than government in areas like transportation. Should some services be privatized?

An Unsteady Future for New England's Suburbs

As people move to warmer climates and cities, small towns throughout the region are weathering decline.

The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America

It’s known as a modern-day hub of progressivism, but its past is one of exclusion.  

Segregation Holds On in the Twin Cities

Once known for their inclusiveness, Minneapolis and St. Paul have become more divided in recent decades.

The Near Impossibility of Moving Up After Welfare

In the wake of welfare reform, unemployed people are pushed to quickly find work, any work. But too often those jobs lead nowhere.

The Uncertain Future of a Middle-Class Stronghold

As incomes fall across the nation, even better-off areas like Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, are faltering.

No Driver's License, No Job?

Conservative policymakers urge those in need to get work. But for those without driver’s licenses—who are by and large people of color—that’s not such an easy task.

The Graying of Rural America

As young people increasingly move to cities, what happens to the people and places they leave behind?

The Artist Loft: Affordable Housing for White People?

Does this type of tax-subsidized apartment perpetuate segregation?

Can Portland Avoid Repeating San Francisco's Mistakes?

The city is facing a housing crisis, but despite its progressive reputation, it’s done little to ensure affordability for longtime residents.

How Segregation Has Persisted in Little Rock

Nearly 60 years after the integration of Central High, the city’s schools are still divided by race.

Why Promising Students Struggle to Escape Poverty

Researchers tracked hundreds of students in Baltimore to find out what top achievers had that others didn’t.

The U.S. Cities Doubling Down on Highways

Physically expanding roads doesn't cure congestion. So why are places like Arkansas spending millions to do just that?

The U.S. Neighborhoods Without Water, Sewers, or Building Codes

Low-income residents bought cheap land outside of border cities decades ago. But the promised infrastructure never came.

A Tale of Two Water Systems

California’s population growth enables it to build top-of-the-line infrastructure—something that isn’t possible for Rust Belt cities.

Budget Woes in One of America's Wealthiest Cities

If San Jose can’t afford its basic public services, what city can?

The City Where the Poor Once Thrived

San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, used to be one of the best places in the U.S. for kids to experience a Horatio Alger, rags-to-riches life. Is it still?

The Midwives of El Paso

For women at the border, where to give birth is a matter of enormous consequence. A birthing-center industry has flourished as a result.

El Paso's Uphill Battle Against Sprawl

In some Southwestern cities, the dream of increased walkability may have limits.

​What It's Like To Cross the Mexican-American Border, Every Day

Thousands of people in the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez region live a binational existence. It’s not easy.