A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Lasting impacts: Recently digitized maps of redlining boundaries drawn in the 1930s are giving economists new insight on how those barriers worked as “self-fulfilling prophecies,” cementing poverty and inequality in city neighborhoods over the past century. The New York Times reports:
As recently as 2010, they find, differences in the level of racial segregation, homeownership rates, home values and credit scores were still apparent where these boundaries were drawn.
“Did the creation of these maps actually influence the development of urban neighborhoods over the course of the 20th century to now?” said Bhash Mazumder, one of the Fed researchers, along with Daniel Aaronson and Daniel Hartley. “That was our primary question.”
Slow lane: The apparent death of a key federal task force focused on self-driving cars is one of many signs of a sluggish White House effort to keep pace with the booming industry—despite U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s earlier pledge to prioritize driverless tech. (Recode)
Emergency clarification: Yes, President Trump did verbally proclaim the opioid crisis a “national emergency” two weeks ago. No, that is not yet a formal declaration with any legal weight. (New York Times)
Amazon’s footprint: The Seattle Times declares its city “the largest company town in America” due to Amazon’s enormous presence— occupying 19 percent of all prime office space, the most of any employer in any major U.S. city. With that footprint expected to soar over the next five years, the cascade of effects on housing, retail, and transportation is just getting started.
Lawyer up: To address the striking imbalance in housing courts — where, national stats show, 90 percent of landlords walk in with legal representation but 90 percent of tenants don’t—a handful of cities are expanding the right to counsel to include evictions cases. (Fast Company)
Shelter shutdown: As part of its $50 million plan to place hundreds of homeless people in permanent housing, Atlanta is closing down its final “shelter of last resort” on Monday—though some critics warn that the city hasn’t yet developed capacity to replace it. (AP)
The urban lens:
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