A protester against the Texas state law to punish "sanctuary cities" stands outside the U.S. Federal court in San Antonio, Texas. Jon Herskovitz/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

‘Arbitrary and discriminatory’: Texas’s controversial ban on so-called sanctuary cities won’t be taking effect Friday as planned. A federal judge temporarily blocked the law on Wednesday, dealing a blow to one of the toughest state-issued immigration laws in the country. The New York Times reports:

In his ruling, Judge Garcia said that the law’s provision banning policies that limit enforcement of immigration laws was unconstitutionally vague and failed to define the specific prohibited conduct. The provision, the judge wrote, “ascribes criminal and quasi-criminal penalties based upon violations of an inscrutable standard, in a manner that invites arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement against disfavored localities.”

Texas vowed to appeal Judge Garcia’s decision, setting the stage for the case to be heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, one of the country’s most conservative appeals panels.

Harvey politics: The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is testing the relationship of Houston Democrat Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott—two leaders “whose personal styles are as divergent as their politics”—as they work together on recovery efforts. (AP)

See also: As a solution for Harvey damage in Houston, a Bloomberg View column revives an idea that economist Edward Glaeser once proposed for New Orleans: Instead of spending billions in federal aid to restore the city, why not give rebuilding money directly to residents?

The car-free argument: To prevent vehicular terror attacks like the ones in Charlottesville and Barcelona, the “most obvious solution” would be to ban cars entirely from crowded pedestrian zones, a New York Times column proposes. For several European cities already doing that, security is now another motive in addition to reducing pollution.

Trail map: Philadelphia is now the first U.S. city to have its urban trail system (400 miles of it) mapped on Google Street View, marking the start of a nationwide effort to digitize the off-road experience. (Philly Voice)

Retail void: When a Sears, J.C. Penney, or Macy's pulls out of small-town America—as they have in hundreds of places—the same factors that sent the retailers packing can make their abandoned storefronts challenging to fill. (Chicago Tribune)

Legalize Tacos: Despite its estimated 10,000 daily street food carts, L.A. remains the only major U.S. city that doesn’t legally permit sidewalk vending. After downgrading penalties due to fears of immigration crackdown, city council members are now working to lift the 1980 ban and regulate vendors. (L.A. Weekly)

The urban lens:

the world's largest sundial, as seen from the top of hawa mahal

A post shared by Varsha (@varshasundar) on

Show us your city on Instagram using #citylabontheground

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a Google employee on a bicycle.
    Equity

    How Far Will Google’s Billion-Dollar Bay Area Housing Plan Go?

    The single largest commitment by a private employer to address the Bay Area’s acute affordable housing crisis is unique in its focus on land redevelopment.

  2. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  3. Equity

    Berlin Will Freeze Rents for Five Years

    Local lawmakers agreed to one of Europe’s most radical rental laws, but it sets the stage for a battle with Germany’s national government.

  4. A map showing the affordability of housing in the U.S.
    Equity

    Minimum Wage Still Can’t Pay For A Two-Bedroom Apartment Anywhere

    The 30th anniversary edition of the National Low Income Housing Coalition report, “Out of Reach,” shows that housing affordability is getting worse, not better.

  5. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

×