Police tape is pictured.
Adrees Latif/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

Grassroots fix: To explain the great crime decline that's swept across nearly ever major American city over the last 25 years, new research points to the pivotal but unsung role that community nonprofits have played—through grassroots efforts like building playgrounds and employing young men. The New York Times reports:

[Researchers] used data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics to track the rise of nonprofits in 264 cities across more than 20 years. Nonprofits were more likely to form in the communities with the gravest problems. But they also sprang up for reasons that had little to do with local crime trends, such as an expansion in philanthropic funding. A spike in nonprofits addressing subjects like the arts and medical research occurred in this same era.

Comparing the growth of other kinds of nonprofits, the researchers believe they were able to identify the causal effect of these community groups: Every 10 additional organizations in a city with 100,000 residents, they estimate, led to a 9 percent drop in the murder rate and a 6 percent drop in violent crime.

Suburban revolt: In the prosperous suburbs surrounding New York City, Seattle, and Northern Virginia, voters Tuesday shunned Republicans from office—signaling “deep alienation” among the upscale moderates who were once central to the party, The New York Times writes.

The go fly zone: Uber’s vision for flying cars became a little more firm yesterday, with the company’s announced intent to launch a few air taxis in Los Angeles in 2020, followed by a full commercial service a few years later. L.A. joins Dallas and Dubai as cities taking part in the “Elevate” program, as Uber works out air-traffic control issues with NASA. (Wired, TechCrunch)

Smokeable spaces: “Where do people use it?” is the the next frontier for states that have legalized recreational marijuana, which still ban people from using the drug in public spaces. Legislators are closely watching cities like Denver for examples on crafting rules for cannabis lounges, cafes, and tasting rooms. (Stateline)

“Instagrammable” cities: The goal of appealing designing public and private spaces to appeal to Instagram users is “subtly changing changing our visual landscapes,” Smithsonian Magazine writes—”on the streets, in stores, in museums and more.”

The urban lens:

Show us your city on Instagram using #citylabontheground.

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