A student writes in class.
Mike Groll/AP

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

School segregation, version 2017: A federal judge’s ruling in Alabama allows a predominantly white city to separate from its more diverse school district. The judge acknowledged the racial motivations of the secession, but based her decision in part on concern for black students caught in the middle. (Washington Post)

Stepping aside: The head of Uber's self-driving car program has recused himself from those duties amid accusations that he stole trade secrets from Google's Waymo—Uber's biggest rival in the driverless car frontier. (New York Times)

Sweet dreams: Santa Fe prepares for a vote next week on a soda tax that would fund early childhood education programs, with proponents getting a boost from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Seattle’s similar proposal is revised to include diet drinks, for equity reasons. (Santa Fe New Mexican, Seattle Weekly)

Return of the big box: Companies like Starbucks and Apple are counteracting Amazon with “bigger, immersive” experiences, for example: the world’s biggest roastery planned for Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and Apple’s “town square” model. (Co.Design)

Better urbanism in three words: A Canadian urbanist this week invited the Twittervese to offer succinct ideas for better urbanism. Sample responses: “Create joyous moments,” “Transit! Transit! Transit!” (Next City)

Smoking ban: New York City is moving to prohibit smoking in city housing, including nearly 140,000 planned affordable units, as the business community bucks against proposals to raise cigarette packs to $13 and halve the number of stores selling tobacco. (Crain’s, NY Daily News)

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