Also: A new HUD rule could evict 55,000 children, and what it takes for parents to live car-free.

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What We’re Following

Back to the future: Last week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unveiled his spaceflight company’s design for a lunar lander, along with a longer-term vision of what human cities might look like in space. As he pitched this imagined future, you might have felt some déjà vu—and not just because the renderings resemble Singapore, Seattle, and Florence.

(Blue Origin)

Bezos’s vision builds on the ideas popularized by one of his college professors: Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill. Back in 1975, O’Neill briefed Congress about a plan he was working on with NASA to develop habitable places beyond Earth. “Bezos’s proposal is a version of O’Neill’s project that somehow manages to look and feel less futuristic than its predecessor,” writes Fred Scharmen, the author of Space Settlements. And it’s not just the imagery that’s the same: Bezos’s vision relies on similar assumptions about ecosystem design and social order that seem quaint from a 2019 vantage point. Today on CityLab: Jeff Bezos Dreams of a 1970s Future

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

HUD Rule Targeting Immigrant Families Could Evict 55,000 Children

A Trump administration regulation targeting undocumented immigrants seeks to boot families if even one person is not eligible to receive public housing aid.

Tanvi Misra

What It Takes for These City Parents to Live Car-Free

Advice from readers around the world on how they make it work—and when they can’t.

CityLab

The First City to Remove and Replace a Confederate Monument?

Native-American lawmakers pushed the removal of a 100-year old Confederate monument in Helena, Montana, in 2017. It’s being replaced by a public art project.

Gabriel Furshong

Making Urban Space for Monarch Butterflies

With the population of the distinctive species in decline, cities around the U.S. are trying to add monarch-friendly spaces.

Allison C. Meier

Listening to My Neighbors Fight

When people are crammed into cities, there’s not much privacy, and neighbors become spectators to one another’s personal lives.

Maris Kreizman


House Calls

Beverley Somai was afraid of her downstairs neighbor. She first called the police on him because he was playing music so loudly it shook the floorboards of her Bedford, Ohio, apartment. But things escalated last year when he allegedly started following her and her disabled son around town... As the months went on and he continued to follow them, she called the police repeatedly, hoping to make it stop.

Then, Mother Jones reports, her landlord told her she was being evicted because of the calls. Somai is now challenging the “nuisance ordinance” in Bedford, Ohio, that allows police to force the eviction of renters if they call 911. The law was intended to address illegal activities on rented property, but police have also applied it to people placing two or more calls to 911. These laws have spread to hundreds of municipalities in at least 35 states in the past few decades, according to Mother Jones, and critics argue they put people—especially people of color—at risk when they ask for help. Read MJ’s story: “The Crime of Being Black in a City That Doesn’t Want You There”

CityLab context: Is there a better way to battle evictions?


What We’re Reading

Glass, golden flames, or a beam of light: Architects pitch replacements for Notre Dame’s spire (New York Times)

Amazon is offering to pay employees to quit their jobs and deliver packages (Time)

A Seattle crane collapsed and killed four people last month. Experts say common practice is the likely cause (Seattle Times)

Don’t create a new gang database, ACLU tells Mayor-elect Lightfoot and Chicago police (Block Club Chicago)


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