Also: The neighborhoods buried in student debt, and the fight to integrate New York’s specialized schools.
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
Huddle for warmth: As the cliché goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but on “Humans of HUD,” the photos say just one thing: self-sufficiency. HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s favorite watchword looms over the agency’s new Insta-friendly campaign, which lifts a page from the popular “Humans of New York” photoblog by pairing photos of people receiving housing aid with testimonials. But, CityLab’s Kriston Capps writes, there’s a disconnect between the feel-good idealism of the portraits and the direction the department has taken under the Trump administration.
The people portrayed in Humans of HUD are assembled precisely because they’re getting help. But their uplifting stories are divorced from the wider context of Carson’s HUD, which has thrown up new barriers to aid for vulnerable families. Kriston spoke with an academic who studies portraiture to get at why this form of storytelling is especially good at labeling something as “human” when it’s really political. Today on CityLab: What’s Wrong With HUD’s New Feel-Good Photoblog?
More on CityLab
What We’re Reading
How a garden for the poor became a playground for the rich (New York Times)
Chicago inside out: How Cook County quietly became a place for creative government (Places Journal)
New opportunity zone tax-break rules offer flexibility to developers (Wall Street Journal)
What does it mean for bike advocacy when big business hires advocates? (Streetsblog NYC)
The subway belongs to us (Commune)