Also: Could “human composting” mean better death? And what Copenhagen wants from its man-made islands.

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What We’re Following

Packing up: At the height of the family separation crisis last year, a tent city went up the middle of the desert near the U.S-Mexico border. Now, it’s being dismantled. This structure was conceived—or, at least presented—as a temporary shelter, set up to handle the influx of young children crossing the border. But its seven-month life in Tornillo, Texas, may leave a more permanent imprint, at least on the people who interacted with it.

(Madison McVeigh/CityLab. Photos: AP)

The encampment became a powerful symbol because of its scale. At its peak, it had over a 100 tents, was run by around 2,000 people, and held nearly 3,000 kids. But it also evoked a familiar visual, harkening back to other points in the American zeitgeist: When the Memphis sharecroppers set up tent cities upon being evicted for trying to vote; when “squatter camps” emerged in the outskirts of cities after the Civil War; and perhaps most famously, when the government interned Japanese-Americans in camps far from the public eye. The tent city in Tornillo was also revelatory, and told stories about the small border town in which it was briefly located. Read my story on CityLab today: Why America’s Largest Migrant Youth Detention Center Closed

Tanvi Misra


More on CityLab

Federal Government Administers Many Tribal Nation Services: So What Now?

U.S. treaties guarantee services to Native Americans, many administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies affected by the shutdown.

Jenni Monet

Could ‘Human Composting’ Mean a Better, Greener Death?

As Washington State considers legalizing human composting, advocate Katrina Spade explains the process as a needed alternative to standard burial and cremation.

Hallie Golden

The Air in London’s Tube Is Really Bad For You

Pollution in some Underground stations is up to 30 times worse than what you’d find on the average London street, a new Transport for London study shows.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Will Copenhagen’s Eco-Friendly Man-Made Islands Pay Off?

The Danish capital is expanding its land mass and creating climate resiliency. But is it sustainable?

Feargus O'Sullivan

How Police Body Cameras Influence the Way People Assign Blame

A new study finds that people who watch body camera footage attribute less blame to police officers involved in incidents than if those same officers were caught on dash cams.

Kate Wheeling


What We’re Reading

Judge orders Trump administration to remove citizenship question from the 2020 census (NPR)

As tech invades cycling, are bike activists selling out? (Wired)

Why doesn’t Boston do a better job of commemorating its Great Molasses Flood, which happened 100 years ago today? (Boston Magazine)

The racial wealth gap is worse than it was 35 years ago (Fast Company)

Everything “Parks and Recreation” got right about national parks and government shutdowns (Business Insider)


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