Mimi Kirk

Mimi Kirk

Mimi Kirk is a contributing writer to CityLab covering education, youth, and aging. Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and Smithsonian.

A young boy stands in the door of his home in Gary, Indiana.

The Future of the Rust Belt Depends on Its Youth

A new Urban Institute report argues that the states surrounding the Great Lakes can make an economic comeback—if they invest in their young people.  

A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.

The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

An artist's rendering of the future WeGrow school shows wide, airy spaces and low seating.

The Corporatization of Kindergarten

The company WeWork will launch a school that teaches young children to be entrepreneurs.

The central building of a former mental hospital in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, features turrets and a central tower.

What Should We Do With Abandoned 'Insane Asylums?'

A group is arguing for the adaptive reuse of 19th-century mental hospitals.

The City Policy Initiatives on the Ballot Tuesday

Voters in U.S. cities will weigh in on drugs, partying, renting, and rooftop gardening. Their decisions could have national implications.

A small group stands in front of a screen, watching a 3-D presentation on Neom.

Saudi Arabia's $500 Billion Fantasy of a Utopian Megacity

The kingdom bills its latest planned city, Neom, as a liberal metropolis where humanity can chart its future together. Can it deliver?

A young teenager sits in a classroom at Atlanta's Metro Regional Youth Detention Center.

Staunching the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Recent reports highlight the injustices found in school disciplinary practices and suggest ways to stop them.

An elderly man stands in the doorway of his mobile home.

How Mobile Homes Hinder the American Dream

A new book examines how trailer parks trap their residents in a cycle of deprivation.

A young girl stands in line with her family, waiting for free school supplies from a Los Angeles mission.

Why U.S. Child Poverty Has Fallen to a Historic Low

Government programs have helped millions of kids escape destitution.

A member of the Ku Klux Klan, wrapped in a Confederate flag, protests in Charlottesville.

How Charlottesville Schools Are Handling More Violence

Another white supremacist rally and a shooting threat pose mounting challenges for administrators and teachers.

A material, fence-like structure sits in a field in front of a group of boxy high-rise apartment buildings.

The Iranian Artists Picturing Their Cities

A gallery exhibit explores the urban public spaces of the Islamic Republic.

A relief worker in San Juan checks road conditions on a marked-up map of Puerto Rico.

When Cartography Meets Disaster Relief

Volunteers across the globe are filling in maps of Puerto Rico. How do humanitarian workers use them?

Residents of a low-income, Washington, D.C., neighborhood walk near their area's only grocery store—a tiny, heavily gated structure.

What Makes an Unhealthy State

Socioeconomic conditions outrank all others factors in determining well-being.

An elderly woman waits to cross an intersection near her Atlanta apartment.

Urban Americans Want to Age in Their Neighborhoods

Can their cities accommodate them?

A Saudi woman gets out of her car after driving.

The Real Reason Saudi Arabia Is Letting Women Drive

It’s not just about women’s rights.

A crossing guard guides a group of elementary school students across the street.

The Bad Drivers Around Your Kid's School

A study on distracted driving finds that urban kids face higher risks when walking or biking around their schools at the end of the day.

Black and white West Charlotte High School students pose together in and around their school bus in 1972.

How America's Most Integrated School Segregated Again

A new book tracks how a Charlotte, North Carolina, high school went from an integration success story to the city’s most isolated and impoverished school.

A pediatrician uses a light to peer inside a young boy's mouth as she examines him at a free clinic for the poor and uninsured.

What Urban Doctors Need to Understand About Patients' Health

Poor health isn’t just a result of individual choice. A program at Washington University in St. Louis teaches first-year medical students how the city’s environment shapes well-being.

An undocumented immigrant who is a recipient of DACA and a nursing student stands in front of the White House protesting the Trump administration's phasing out of the program.

How Universities Are Protecting Their DREAMers

The University of California is suing the Trump administration for rescinding DACA. Here’s what else colleges are doing to help undocumented students.

The NIMBY Fight That Rocked an Iowa City

An uproar over an affordable housing complex in Cedar Rapids gives insight into the NIMBY debates of small-city America.

A young girl and her classmates work on computers in a classroom.

How Housing Authorities Can Shape School Outcomes

In Tacoma, Washington, and other U.S. cities, housing departments are collaborating with school districts to give low-income and homeless students a leg up.