Rob Ford is pictured.
Brett Gundlock/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

‘Plan your exit’: From Toronto, the former chief of staff to “the world’s most notorious mayor,” Rob Ford, offers some insight on grappling with the parallel eccentricities and unpredictability of U.S. President Donald Trump. On BuzzFeed, the open letter to chief of staff John Kelly includes advice such as “Don’t try to change Donald Trump,” “Don’t break the law,” and “Plan your exit:”

Your staff, I am sure, feel besieged. Your boss too. Mine did. In their minds, the world outside the gates hates them, misunderstands them, and is actively conspiring to destroy them. In retrospect, much of our siege mentality may have been self-induced. It doesn’t have to be. Look for opportunities to reinforce “normal” stakeholder relationships. Reach out and build coalitions where you can. That’s how you get things done in politics.

Whole Foods is a go: The feds have now cleared the way for Amazon to become a bigger player in the grocery industry, with antitrust regulators concluding that the retail behemoth’s Whole Foods acquisition will not harm competition. The New York Times reports on how the $13.4 billion deal might figure into the U.S. grocery scene.

Beltline shakeup: As home prices soar along the Atlanta Beltline, project CEO Paul Morris is now stepping down amid criticism over the development’s affordable housing failures—including a July investigation that found the Beltline far from its goal of 5,600 affordable homes. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

New-wave farmers: An urban farming accelerator in Brooklyn co-founded by Kimbal Musk (yes, Elon’s brother) is hoping to expand with campuses in other cities, after graduating 10 entrepreneurs from its first nine-month training program on “vertical farming.” (Fast Company)

Trees = savings: A new study finds that “urban forests” can help megacities save more than $500 million a year in costs for healthcare, energy, and environmental protection—with benefits increasing if more trees are planted on sidewalks, plazas, and parking lots. (Reuters)

Co-living goes luxe: The New York Times notes that developers are starting to bring a “swankier gloss” to the once homespun concept of co-living, with projects taking a cue from recent trends in co-working spaces and “hipster-amenitized luxury rental developments.”

Blight battle: GovTech highlights four models of how cities are using data to fix the crisis of vacant buildings, including a crowdsourcing app called “Blexting” that’s helping Detroit catalog its entire property database.

The urban lens:

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