Also: The inequality of America’s parks, and a race against D.C.’s streetcar.

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***

What We’re Following

Check enclosed: Last year, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris each floated legislation to provide tax relief to American households struggling to pay for housing. With the Democratic lawmakers running in a crowded 2020 presidential race, they’re planning to revive that push. This time around, it could also include something bigger, a potential sea change for housing assistance and tax policy: Aides tell CityLab’s Kriston Capps that the new proposals may offer rent-burdened households monthly help from the IRS.

The bills are still in progress, but the idea is to establish a tax credit, paid each month, that could cover some portion of rent that goes beyond 30 percent of a household’s earnings. While it looks like Harris and Booker will try different ways to do that, their dueling bills “reflect the idea that the American housing crisis will be a 2020 election issue,” Kriston writes. Read his story today on CityLab: Cory Booker and Kamala Harris Want a Monthly IRS Tax Credit for Rent

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Why Wayne Messam Wants to Go From Florida Mayor to POTUS

While fighting to enact stricter gun control locally, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, is launching a 2020 campaign built on addressing student loan debt and climate change.

Sarah Holder

The Inequality of America’s Parks and Green Space

New research finds that income, education, and race are correlated with access to green space across and within U.S. metro areas.

Richard Florida

I Tried to Outrun D.C.'s Streetcar

Streetcars without dedicated lanes tend to be on the slow side. But beating this much-maligned public transportation mode on foot wasn’t as easy as it looks.

Linda Poon

In Need of Housing, Barcelona Fines Landlords for Long-Vacant Buildings

The massive fines levied against the investment funds have been interpreted as a “declaration of war” from Mayor Ada Colau, who wants more affordable housing.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Reading Bauhaus: 7 Books to Mark a Modernist Milestone

A roundup of reads for fans of Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, and other big names of the Bauhaus art and design movement.

Mark Byrnes and Amanda Kolson Hurley


Power On

Madison McVeigh/CityLab

Batteries power so much of our daily lives, from the laptops in our backpacks to the electric scooters on the street. But batteries—big ones—have increasingly shown up in homes and offices, and they could help replace expensive, dirty power plants with renewable energy like solar and wind. In the not-so-distant future, could these energy storage packs be a key to building sustainable cities?

In the fourth episode of CityLab’s Technopolis podcast, hosts Molly Turner and Jim Kapsis consider how energy storage could change everything about how we turn on the lights and get around town. Check out the latest episode, Is Our Green Future Battery-Powered Cities?

Listen and subscribe to Technopolis: Apple Podcasts / Stitcher / Google Play


What We’re Reading

As air pollution gets worse, a dystopian accessory is born (Vox)

Meet the Flintstone House, a home so odd neighbors are calling it a public nuisance (New York Times)

If your city wants equitable job growth, it has to zone for it (Next City)

How public transit actually turns a profit in Hong Kong (The Guardian)

Artist says his big bong will help save a town. The locals aren’t amused. (New York Times)


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