A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

The elusive killer: As President Trump prepares to declare a national emergency over the opioid epidemic, the law enforcement community is racing to curb the spread of fentanyl, the potent synthetic drug that’s increasingly to blame for fatal overdoses across the country. Looking at hard-hit New England communities, The Washington Post reports on the complexities of containing the “decentralized disaster” of the smuggled-in drug:

In the past couple of years, the drug suppliers have essentially deputized the addicts to become the drug distributors, DeLena said. The addicts will travel to Lawrence [Massachusetts]  for product and bring some extra to their home communities, assuming all the risk.

“It’s the Amway model. They have created this pyramid effect,” DeLena said. Addicts used to go to Lawrence to buy just enough for their own use, he said, but “now they’re stopping you and saying, ‘Take more, bring back the money when you have it.’ ”

Electric hype: As a dozen international cities pledge to purchase only zero-emissions buses starting in 2025, Vox points to the growing market demand for battery-electric buses, despite the daunting initial costs.

The art of subway design: While New York City seeks ideas for fixing its troubled subway, Curbed looks to past inspiration in the holistic approach that architect Harry Weese’s firm applied in designing the Washington D.C. Metro in the 1960s—including their globe-trotting study of subways in other countries.

“Digital democracy”? With civic crowdfunding growing in popularity across the U.K. (see London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan is backing 25 projects on Spacehive), The Guardian pauses to question whether these platforms are merely “privatization masquerading as democracy.”

Surprising destinations: Lonely Planet’s new roundup of the best cities to visit in 2018 includes two from America, and they’re not what you’d expect: Detroit is No. 2 the list, and San Juan is No. 8 despite its current void of tourism amid Puerto Rico’s devastation. (Detroit Free Press, CNN, AP)

Affordable housing fix? In the quest to keep cities affordable, policymakers may be overlooking one powerful mechanism: the land value tax, which could increase incentives to build more and thus drive down rents, according to a Bloomberg View column that points to Pittsburgh’s past success with the strategy.

The urban lens:

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