Also: America’s worsening geographic inequality, and why we need better ways to report crime statistics.
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What We’re Following
Peter Pan’s Pyongyang: Kim Jong-un can’t fly, but he can build. Under his rule, the skyline of North Korea’s capital city, Pyongyang, has undergone a building spree with the goal of becoming, as the blueprints call it, a “socialist fairyland.” As the leader of the desperately poor state inaugurates showy futurist apartment buildings, the rooms sit empty and even occupied buildings are often shabby, but at least it’s adding some color?
With North Korea’s small middle class growing for the first time in nearly a half century, it’s possible the wave of development has roots in liberalizing reforms—but it’s too soon to get your hopes up. Today on CityLab, Nolan Gray asks: What’s behind the Pyongyang building boom?
More on CityLab
The Miseducation of Charlottesville
The New York Times has a remarkable investigation into how Charlottesville’s Jim Crow past transformed into “internal segregation” in its schools. The story details how even after redrawing school zones, bias in gifted programs and school discipline has steered white and black students into “separate and unequal tracks.” This quote from the city’s current mayor describes what’s behind the racial gulf:
Charlottesville is “beautiful physically and aesthetically pleasing, but a very ugly-in-the-soul place,” said Nikuyah Walker, who became its first black female mayor during the self-recrimination that swept the city after last year’s white nationalist rallies. “No one has ever attempted to undo that, and that affects whether our children can learn here.”
To accompany the story, ProPublica also mapped the data on racial disparities in educational opportunity and school discipline across the country. CityLab context: Charlottesville, one year later, and why southern schools are getting more segregated
What We’re Reading
Uber’s secret weapon: economists (Quartz)
Rural Americans are worried about drugs and jobs, but remain optimistic (NPR)
The town in Mexico that refused to become a smart city (The Guardian)
Housing market positioned for a “gentler slowdown” than 2007 (Wall Street Journal)