President Trump and First Lady Melania walk through a San Juan suburb
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

Uneven comeback: In Puerto Rico, semblances of normal life—schools, leisure, cocktails—are returning now, two weeks after Hurricane Maria. At least that’s the case in and around the capital city of San Juan, where President Trump spent his visit this week. Had he traveled deeper into the island, to hardest-hit communities, he would have witnessed very different scenes. The Washington Post reports on the disparity:

Here in Caguas there remains a sense of desperation, with Miranda Torres rattling off a much more dire list of statistics in Spanish: Nearly 1 in 10 residents were severely affected by the storm’s destruction. More than 1,200 homes were flattened or suffered major damage. At least one person at a shelter died of diabetes complications after not having access to medical care, and two people killed themselves.

… “If Trump wanted to see the real Puerto Rico,” said Caguas’s vice mayor, Lydia Rivera Denizard, “he should’ve come here.”

  • See also: A network of Puerto Ricans on the mainland U.S. are shipping solar-powered generators to remote and impoverished parts of the island, with the goal of powering up community hubs that can provide basic services. (Miami Herald)

Smart neighborhood: Toronto is positioning to team with Google sister company Sidewalk Labs to build a new 12-acre waterfront neighborhood, which would model cutting-edge technology for other worldwide cities. (Toronto Star)

Leaning progressive: The newly elected mayor of Birmingham, Alabama—who pulled off an upset win with support from Bernie Sanders—joins a growing number of “young, left-leaning black reformers” taking leadership in Southeastern U.S. cities with backing from national progressives. (Huffington Post)

America’s “Great Places”: The American Planning Association list this year includes Knoxville’s Market Square, Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, and neighborhoods in San Antonio, Cincinnati, and Missoula—to name a few. Planetizen rounds up some of the local news coverage, and the full list is here.

EV support system: Governors of seven Western U.S. states have a plan for a network of fast-charge stations that will ease range anxiety for electric vehicle drivers traveling on the region’s major highways, covering more than 5,000 miles. (Denver Post)

Recovery setback: Hurricane-damaged communities in Texas and Florida are struggling to find workers to help with rebuilding, a labor shortage that contrasts with Katrina reconstruction. The Washington Post points to today’s lower unemployment rate, opioid use, and tighter immigration restrictions as factors.

The urban lens:

Show us your city on Instagram using #citylabontheground.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  2. Design

    How We Map Epidemics

    Cartographers are mapping the coronavirus in more sophisticated ways than past epidemics. But visualizing outbreaks dates back to cholera and yellow fever.

  3. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  4. photo: An elderly resident of a village in Japan's Gunma Prefecture.
    Life

    In Japan’s Vanishing Rural Towns, Newcomers Are Wanted

    Facing declining birthrates and rural depopulation, hundreds of “marginal villages” could vanish in a few decades. But some small towns are fighting back.

  5. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

×