Sarah Holder

Sarah Holder

Sarah Holder is a staff writer at CityLab covering local policy, housing, labor, and technology.

photo: Police in riot gear march down Plymouth Avenue during riots in North Minneapolis on July 21, 1967.

Why This Started in Minneapolis

Conditions that led to George Floyd’s death are not unique to Minneapolis and St. Paul. But there’s a reason why the Twin Cities triggered a national uprising.

photo: Lorrine Paradela, one of 125 participants in a basic income experiment in Stockton, California, used some of her $500 a month income to purchase a newer car.

Stockton Extends its Universal Basic Income Pilot

A pioneering universal basic income pilot in the low-income California city was scheduled to expire soon. But the coronavirus crisis made the case to extend it.

How Nextdoor Courts Police and Public Officials

The hyper-local social media platform Nextdoor is winning over local law enforcement and other government officials in the U.S., alarming civil rights advocates.

photo: an open-plan office

Even the Pandemic Can’t Kill the Open-Plan Office

Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.

photo: a contract-tracing app from the UK's National Health Service

Who Wants to Be a Contact Tracer?

To reopen, the U.S. needs to quickly train and deploy thousands of people to track potential Covid-19 infections — because technology alone can’t do the job.

The ‘New Normal’ for Many Older Adults Is on the Internet

For some people over 65 facing loneliness and prolonged isolation, expanded tech literacy is a new skill that may stay with them long after lockdowns lift.

Mute Your Mic! Virtual City Council Is in Session.

As city governance goes remote during coronavirus lockdowns, local lawmakers struggle with video tech glitches, nude Zoombombing, and other challenges.

photo: To boost turnout, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts mounted a census-themed exhibition this spring. Seen here is work by artist Innosanto Nagara.

The Art of the Census

A pair of museum exhibits showcase work inspired by the decennial counts of the U.S. Census Bureau. And, like the census itself, the shows are going online.  

photo: a protester in a pickup truck at a drive-through rally in Denver, Colorado.

The Many Protests of the Coronavirus Pandemic

From drive-through rallies to video demonstrations, the public resistance of the coronavirus era adopts new strategies, and advances very different causes.

photo: Stuart Malcolm, a doctor with the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, speaks with homeless people about the coronavirus in San Francisco.

No Easy Fixes as Covid-19 Hits Homeless Shelters

Cities like San Francisco and New York City are moving shelter residents to hotels as coronavirus spreads. But federal authorities have a different solution.

NYC’s Plan to Protect Medical Staff From Retaliation for Speaking Out

Health-care workers have been a primary source for exposing the challenges of treating coronavirus. But they still face losing their jobs over whistleblowing.

How America's 'Bedlam' Became Jails and Streets

The new PBS documentary connects the de-institutionalization movement that emptied postwar psychiatric hospitals with the surge of homelessness in U.S. cities.

The Right Way to Pass Fellow Pedestrians, and Other Social Distancing Tips

Being a model local citizen during coronavirus requires us to upend some of our ingrained neighborly behaviors. Here’s how to adopt new ones.

photo: A California voter casts his ballot in 2016.

How Coronavirus Is Killing Off Ballot Measures

Campaign events are canceled, canvassers are homebound, and ballot initiatives are stalled as coronavirus lockdowns limit voter-led democratic efforts.

photo: empty streets of New Orleans

City Leaders Rally Around a Fix: Cancel the Rent

To prevent a housing disaster, leaders in nine U.S. cities called on state and federal officials to give more support to tenants as the Covid-19 crisis deepens.

Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.

For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

photo: Atlanta's East Lake Meadows housing project, which opened in 1970

‘East Lake Meadows’ Isn’t Just a Public Housing Tragedy

The new PBS documentary film from Sarah Burns and David McMahon chronicles the fall of an Atlanta housing project through the residents who once called it home.

Saying ‘I Do’ From a Social Distance

Traditional weddings are unsafe if not banned in much of the world due to Covid-19. But that doesn’t mean couples are canceling the dancing or live music.

photo: an Uber vehicle in Miami

The Human Cost of Calling an Uber Right Now

Uber and Lyft drivers risk Covid-19 infections to shuttle doctors and vulnerable people around. Can they get the same job protections as other frontline workers?

No, Coronavirus Is Not ‘Just Killing Old People’

There are reasons why so many younger — and older — adults ignore public health warnings about Covid-19, says geriatrician Louise Aronson.

photo: A New York MTA worker cleans a handrail in a subway station.

What About the Workers Cleaning Up Coronavirus?

Janitors, domestic workers, housekeeping, and office cleaning crews are on the front lines of the battle against Covid-19. Can they protect their own health?