Also: What should a “smart city” look like, and can park design deter crime?

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What We’re Following

Day in court: The Supreme Court handed down two decisions today that could shape the political power of local governments going forward into 2020 and beyond.

On the question of partisan gerrymandering, the court ruled 5-4 against a challenge to congressional districts that were drawn to favor the party in power, with cases brought against Republicans in North Carolina and Democrats in Maryland. While the Supreme Court has previously ruled against racial gerrymandering, Chief Justice John Roberts concluded that redistricting for partisan advantage “presents political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” (NYT) CityLab context: How gerrymandering limits city power

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is asking a lower court to reconsider the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Again, Roberts wrote the majority opinion, saying the White House’s reason for adding the question was “contrived,” without ruling out the possibility of a better justification (WaPo). That puts the Commerce Department, which handles the census, up against a very tight deadline to produce a legitimate rationale for a citizenship question. Experts say such a question could result in an undercount of more than 8 million people. CityLab context: Three-quarters of Americans think a citizenship question would yield a Census miscount

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The 3 Pictures That Explain Everything About Smart Cities

The vision of the technology-powered metropolis of the future is being sold with images that bear little resemblance to the real world.

Kevin Rogan

Pollinator Cities Really Could Save the Monarchs

The milkweed needed to stabilize the country’s monarch-butterfly population thrives in metropolitan areas—especially on residential land.

Sarah Holder

How to Design a Park That Deters Crime

Research on the connections between green space and criminal activity finds that park design and programming determines their impact on crime and safety.

Lincoln Larson and S. Scott Ogletree

Extreme Heat Is Testing Paris’s Climate Resilience Plan

As Europe boils in a record-breaking heat wave, the French capital is rolling out its new heat emergency drill.

Feargus O'Sullivan

A Gay Icon Remembers Life in the Village, and in the Village People

Fifty years after Stonewall, Felipe Rose—“The Indian” from the Village People—reflects on New York City’s Greenwich Village as the gay rights movement took hold.

K.A. Dilday



What We’re Reading

College students want Uber parking (New York Times)

A working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia struggles to repair the damage from postwar urban renewal (Places Journal)

Rendezvous with density: Will upzoning make housing more affordable? (Governing)

Minneapolis may ban drive-throughs (Next City)


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