Also: How to battle New York’s vacant storefronts, and look to cemeteries for affordable homes.
Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.
What We’re Following
Return to sender: With this week's attempted bombings of prominent Democrats, CNN, and high-profile critics of President Trump, the mail once again became a vector for violence. While these mail bombs vaguely resemble threats like the Unabomber or the 2001 anthrax attacks, a historian tells CityLab’s Kriston Capps that another moment in U.S. history rhymes more closely with our current political scare. “When I was watching the news yesterday, all I could keep saying is, ‘1919! 1919!’” says Nancy Pope, who works at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. “It’s all happening all over again.”
That year, the U.S. Postal Service intercepted 36 mail bombs meant for senators, mayors, and other officials as part of a May Day plot by anarchists. (It was foiled thanks to the intervention of one vigilant mail clerk.) The history of mail bombs dates as far back as the 19th century, but the majority aren’t political in nature at all. Dangerous packages get sent to addresses more often for personal or criminal reasons—but the most likely victims are postal workers. Thankfully, the digital era has made package screenings more thorough and safer. Today on CityLab, Kriston reports on the long, lethal history of mail bombs.
More on CityLab
Race and class are key fault lines in America’s deepening divide—but so is how people live and commute. The chart above shows how much congressional representatives voted with Trump and how that compares to their district’s demographics. Homeownership, marriage, driving alone, and white residents in a district have significant positive correlations with support for President Trump’s legislative agenda, while districts with a higher number of renters, transit commuters, single people, and non-white residents are significantly less likely to have a representative that votes with Trump. CityLab’s Richard Florida analyzes how the dimensions of our daily life influence America’s political divide.
What We’re Reading
Thousands of polling places were closed over the past decade. Here’s where (Washington Post)
Transit agencies are changing their approach to homelessness (Streetsblog)
Was Sears’s bankruptcy predicted by its architecture? (Curbed)
To fix the ills of tourism, think like a traffic engineer (Wired)