A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Capital conflict: President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is causing a diplomatic stir around the world. Even for a city that’s no stranger to tension and geopolitical posturing, the move is drawing unusual attention—but what’s so significant about identifying a capital city? Vox dives into the decades-long political fight behind this dicey matter, zooming in on the importance of Trump’s language here:
Though Trump affirmed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he didn’t call it the undivided capital of Israel — suggesting the US would still support potentially dividing Jerusalem between the Israelis and the Palestinians as part of future peace negotiations.
… That matters. For years, official US policy has been support for a two-state solution, with the final status of Jerusalem to be decided as part of a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Had Trump chosen to go further and declare Jerusalem to be the undivided capital of Israel, it would have sent the message that the US has taken a clear position on Jerusalem’s final status.
The homelessness scourge: West Coast cities are driving the nation’s first increase in homelessness in years, with officials saying higher rents are to blame. The most alarming consequence: the deadly hepatitis A outbreak hitting San Diego, Los Angeles, and Santa Cruz. (AP) See also:
D.C. just toughened eligibility for those seeking shelter on winter nights—requiring detailed documentation, for instance—in an attempt to ease strain on overburdened facilities. (Washington Post)
- CNN speaks with a purveyor of super-uncomfortable city benches that fit the classification of “hostile architecture”—a controversial urban design mode that, in this case, prevents homeless people from sleeping in public spaces.
“Chilling effect”: In a New York Times op-ed, Tucson’s police chief details his problems with the Trump White House’s approach to sanctuary cities, including the “chilling effect on police-community relations” his city has seen.
The $40 commute: Outside of D.C., the congested commuter hellscape of I-66 had previously been limited during rush hour to carpools, hybrid vehicles, and airport travelers. A new policy lets solo drivers in—for prices up to $40. (Streetsblog)
Justice architects: Urban Omnibus speaks with two architects who specialize in designing courts, jails, and juvenile detention facilities about the weighty ethical and social issues behind their work—and their bird’s eye view of the U.S. criminal justice system over five decades.
Big Easy biking: As New Orleans officially launches its new bike-sharing program, with 15 stations across the city, a new report finds safe cycling infrastructure lacking in its poorer neighborhoods. (Times-Picayune)
The urban lens:
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