Also: The neighborhoods buried in student debt, and the fight to integrate New York’s specialized schools.

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***

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.

Some of the humans of “Humans of HUD.” (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

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?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Where Voter Suppression Hits Hardest in Georgia

In the swiftly diversifying Gwinnett County, the second largest county in Georgia, the best way to vote freely and fairly in the upcoming midterms is if you’re white.

Brentin Mock

Yes, 311 Nuisance Calls Are Climbing in Gentrifying Neighborhoods

A new analysis by the Science vs. podcast team crunches the numbers on which New York City blocks are seeing spikes in calls complaining about other residents.

Tanvi Misra

The Fight to Integrate New York City’s Specialized Schools Is Misguided

It affirms a supremacist mentality. I thought we were done propping that up.

K.A. Dilday

The Neighborhoods Buried In Student Debt

How much of your paycheck goes towards student loans?

Claire Tran

Weirdly, Munich Is Now Germany’s Greenest City

Politically, that is.

Feargus O'Sullivan



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)


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