Also: Pete Buttigieg wants to tackle vacancy, and a tourism boom threatens the red light district.

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What We’re Following

Vermin supreme: When President Donald Trump tweeted this weekend that Baltimore is a “rat and rodent infested mess,” he was continuing a long pattern of using this kind of rhetoric to describe a majority-black city. This particular attack was in response to Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, whose district includes West Baltimore, after Cummings criticized inhumane conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump is hardly the first to weaponize the idea of an “infestation” to discriminate against African Americans, and that phenomenon has a special resonance in Baltimore. Early in the 20th century, city leaders used “the language of public health to restrict where African Americans could live,” writes Paige Glotzer, a historian of American housing segregation. Today on CityLab, she tells the story of how Baltimore’s policymakers pioneered racially discriminatory housing laws that were adopted nationwide, and how “the infestation language of the past century… has defined the whole landscape of American discrimination.” Read her perspective: The Racist History Lurking Behind Trump’s Attack on Baltimore

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

U.S. Cities Have a Vacancy Problem. Here’s How Pete Buttigieg Would Fix It.

The Democratic presidential candidate’s plan to promote homeownership simultaneously addresses hypervacancy and the racial wealth gap.

Kriston Capps

Will Amsterdam’s Tourism Boom Drive Out the Red Light District?

As travelers overwhelm De Wallen—the neighborhood known for its sex industry—the city considers changing its appearance or moving it altogether.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Has the Time Come for City-Run Public Banks?

A coalition of activists in 10 California cities is pushing for public banks as a bill to support this voter-run option works its way through the state legislature.

Sarah Holder

What Internet Memes Get Wrong About Breezewood, Pennsylvania

A photo of a strip of fast-food outlets and gas stations is used to critique the sameness of the American landscape. But it could only be one place on Earth.

Amanda Kolson Hurley

Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

Linda Poon

What We’re Reading

How “developer” became such a dirty word (New York Times)

Congress takes a new stab at passing self-driving car legislation (The Verge)

The census could undercount people who don’t have internet access (Slate)

Why polluted urban waterways are oddly charming (The Guardian)

California’s wildfire insurance is in crisis—and the real estate market is suffering (Sacramento Bee)

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