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What We’re Following

No quarter: Today, most renters are spending a larger portion of their income on rents and mortgages than they did in 1980. That’s not the case for the top earners, though. Their share of housing costs has actually fallen. That’s true almost everywhere. A new analysis from Apartment List shows how housing costs have grown much more for lower-income earners than higher-income earners.

The gap compounds the differences in costs between rich and poor, homeowners and renters, and the raw difference between how much disposable income is left in people’s wallets. “Housing policy is inequality policy,” says Apartment List’s chief economist. CityLab’s Sarah Holder has the story: Since 2008, Only High-Income People Have Seen Their Housing Costs Drop

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Will Miami’s Growth Be Cut Short by Sea-Level Rise?

A conversation with sociologist Alejandro Portes about his new book: Is Miami a global city, or a superstar Latin-American city? And is it going to sink?

Richard Florida

How New York Can Deliver the First Phase of Its ‘Green New Deal’

By 2040, the city’s large buildings must cut their carbon emissions by 40 percent. Here’s how that can happen.

Kriston Capps

It’s a Few Years Late, But Denver’s New Train Is Here

As the city’s long-delayed G Line opens, locals have high hopes that the commuter rail service can ease traffic and boost transit-oriented housing.  

Sarah Holder

The Only Thing You Can’t Subscribe to Now Is Stability

Today’s subscription services cover toilet paper, dog toys, and furniture. But what is lost with convenience?

Amanda Mull

How Families With Kids Drive Suburban Segregation

The old divide between family-friendly suburbs and childless city living is fading. The new divide is within the suburbs themselves.

Richard Florida


Rock and a Hard Place

“Which is the most musical city?” asks The Guardian. Is it a metropolis like London or New York, or smaller dedicated music cities like Nashville or New Orleans? No matter what, a city’s music scene is more than how many venues it has or what big artists have launched there:

“The number of live music venues means nothing if you don’t look at the policy that guides them and influences them,” says Shain Shapiro of Sound Diplomacy, a music consultancy. … “Every city has music schools, venues, and most have studios, rehearsal spaces. But very few cities have music policy infrastructures.”

So if your city wants to build or sustain a music scene, it will have to plan for it. That’s the argument from music policy consultants, who say the necessary infrastructure can mean everything from managing noise, having affordable housing for artists, and even considering what structures lead musicians to play out on the street rather than inside. Read more in The Guardian, and revisit my piece from March: How I plugged into my city’s music scene


What We’re Reading

How the census changed America (New Yorker)

Amazon says automated shipping warehouses are at least a decade away (The Verge)

Google will soon allow users to auto-delete location history (Washington Post)

Enough with the “actually, electric cars pollute more” nonsense already (Jalopnik)

In 1980, one-third of whites in America lived in nearly all-white neighborhoods. Now just 5 percent do. (New York Times)


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