Also: Uber drivers are stressed and in debt, and who is really buying property in San Francisco.
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
Deep breaths: When the first Earth Day took place on this day in 1970, cities weren’t seen as good for the planet. Protesters wore gas masks to emphasize how urban life detached people from nature, industrialized cities had very visible air and water pollution, and New York City was seen as an “ecological nightmare.” But those initial demonstrations launched a movement that produced agencies and laws to tackle the environmental problems concentrated in cities. As CityLab’s Laura Bliss wrote of the day’s roots in 2015, Earth Day started the ideological shift that would later see cities as more environmentally friendly.
That movement also gave way to new fields of study that examined environmental science and planning. One example of this research is the Children’s Health Study in California. As thousands of children blew into spirometers to measure the power of their breathing, scientists compared those results with neighborhood air quality to inspect the link between air pollution and health. With increased long-term health consequences, “[p]ollution had planted a hidden seed of vulnerability in these children, an unseen frailty that would set their futures on a different trajectory than their peers’,” as Beth Gardiner writes in her new book, Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution. Read an excerpt on CityLab: How Scientists Discovered What Dirty Air Does to Kids’ Health
More on CityLab
Last year, the U.S. government built a massive detention facility to hold migrant children in a remote area around Tornillo, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border. Over its seven-month lifespan, the tent city at Tornillo housed about 6,000 undocumented teenagers, largely from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. It closed in January amid a public backlash to the government separating children from their parents and holding 13- to 17-year-old kids in detention longer than usual.
Now, the best physical evidence of that facility can be found in a museum: An art exhibit at the University of Texas El Paso’s El Paso Centennial Museum features work created by children who lived at Tornillo. “In the midst of that secrecy, and all of us wondering about the kids, this artwork gave us a little glimpse into [their] lives,” said the director of UTEP’s Institute of Oral History, who acquired the art. CityLab’s Tanvi Misra takes a look at the art of the migrant kids detained in Tornillo.
What We’re Reading
What the rise of renting means for cities (Governing)
Los Angeles has a plan to reboot its bus system—using cellphone data (Wired)
Every building of every block in New York City during the 1980s (New York Times)
“Fixer Upper” is over, but the transformation of Waco, Texas, is just beginning (BuzzFeed News)