A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Bussed out: In an 18-month investigation The Guardian tracked the outcomes of 34,240 journeys of homeless people who were relocated by U.S. cities. It’s the first systematic look at these homeless relocation programs. Almost half originated in New York, the first major city to begin providing free bus tickets to homeless people in 1987. Among many other takeaways:
Officials currently involved in running programs in Denver, Jacksonville, and Salt Lake City all told The Guardian they saw them as cost-effective programs that delivered their cities value for money by reducing the numbers living on their streets.
Yet it appears bussing schemes are also being used to give a misleading impression about the extent to which cities are actually solving homelessness.
When San Francisco, for example, reports on the number of people “exiting” homelessness, it includes the tally of people who are put on a bus and relocated elsewhere in the country. It turns out that almost half of the 7,000 homeless people San Francisco claims to have helped lift out of homelessness in the period of 2013-16 were simply given one-way tickets out of the city.
Cities vs. big pharm: Almost every day now, a different city or county is launching a new lawsuit against major U.S. drug companies, pointing blame for their role in the opioid crisis. A gathering of lawyers in Cleveland this week suggests these disparate efforts might turn into a more coordinated legal fight. (New York Times)
- See also: The CDC sees the opioid crisis shaping up to be the biggest hit to American life expectancy in a century. (HuffPost)
Double risk: An AP analysis finds two million U.S. residents who live near 327 Superfund sites are also living in flood-prone areas threatened by climate change. That means big public health risks, since flooding can spread the toxic contamination of the highly polluted sites.
Best in urban design: For 2017, Architects Newspaper gives the nod to the India Basin project in San Francisco, creating a new waterfront village from a former industrial wasteland along the bay. Honorable mentions go to Atlanta’s park over the GA400 highway, and the reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square in New York City.
- Another piece from ArchNews tracks an exceptionally controversial parking garage: the one for the upcoming Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
Death row decline: For the first time in three decades, Harris County, Texas—“the death penalty capital of America”—went without an execution in the year 2017. It also marked its third year in a row without sending any new defendants to death row. (The Intercept)
The urban lens:
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