Also: Concrete strategies for environmental justice, and what will it take to cool Vancouver’s rental market?

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What We’re Following

Face the facts: Last year, the landlord of a large rent-stabilized apartment building in Brooklyn informed tenants about plans for a new security system that would replace key fobs with a facial recognition software. The plan didn’t sit well with residents, and prompted a lawsuit arguing that the technology violates the terms of their lease agreement. Along with a residents’ protest last week, it’s the first visible opposition in New York City to the deployment of such technology in the residential realm.

With security guards and several cameras, the residents—most of whom are people of color and female—say they already feel heavily watched. They worry the facial recognition technology not only will have a chilling effect on residents, but also on people who visit them. “We’re saying we don’t want this; we’ve had enough,” one longtime resident and tenant organizer tells CityLab’s Tanvi Misra. “We should not feel like we’re in a prison to enter into our homes.” Read her story: The Tenants Fighting Back Against Facial Recognition Technology

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Which Cities Have Concrete Strategies For Environmental Justice?

Historically, local zoning codes and land-use laws have enforced segregation. Now, cities are using the same tools to enact environmental justice.

Nicole Javorsky

What Will It Take to Cool Vancouver’s Red-Hot Rental Market?

To combat the exodus of its working and middle classes, the city needs an aggressive affordable housing strategy—and fast.

Tracey Lindeman

The Urban Planning Vision of Leonardo da Vinci

Following a typical Renaissance trend, he began to work out an “ideal city” project, which, due to its excessive costs, would remain unfulfilled.

Alessandro Melis

Most of America’s Rural Areas Are Doomed to Decline

Since the Great Recession, most of the nation's rural counties have struggled to recover lost jobs and retain their people.

David Swenson

‘Uber Was Supposed To Be Our Public Transit’

Innisfil, Ontario, decided to partially subsidize ride-hailing trips rather than pay for a public bus system. It worked so well that now they have to raise fares and cap rides.

Laura Bliss


Turning a New Leaf

Don’t give us no pity party… We’re talking about the government. They will never admit wrongdoing, and that’s OK. But if you read between the lines, if you come from where I come from, you know. It’s their way of saying we’re sorry.

That’s how Shawn Richard, speaking to Wired, views San Francisco’s cannabis equity program. Richard owns the first cannabis dispensary to open in the famously tokey Upper Haight neighborhood, and is the first person approved by the city’s program—three decades after he served a three-year sentence following a conviction for selling cocaine. Wired has the story: Legendary Haight Street Gets A New, Legal King of Weed

The city’s program is designed to help people hit hard by the War on Drugs get access to capital now that the cannabis industry is booming. CityLab’s Brentin Mock covered last year when the program announced its first recipients.


What We’re Reading

Mapping New York City’s worst landlords (Fast Company)

Can Silicon Valley disrupt the homebuying business? (New York Times)

How we talk about drivers hitting cyclists (Outside)

Sandra Bland, it turns out, filmed her traffic stop confrontation (New York Times)


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