Also: Mass shootings are destroying a sense of public space, and how much traffic do Uber and Lyft cause?

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What We’re Following

Vouch for it: Housing vouchers help millions of low-income families in the United States pay their rent with federal aid. The program, also known as Section 8, has been simple and effective, but it’s also showing its age. While vouchers are supposed to offer families a choice about where to live, recipients often end up packed into high-poverty areas. A new tool from Seattle, however—designed with the help of Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his Opportunity Insights team—shows how just a few additional services can help housing aid become a better tool for social mobility.

Researchers studied an ongoing program that helps families navigate rental applications and assists landlords with the process of accepting vouchers. By educating both tenants and landlords, the Seattle experiment dramatically boosted the share of families who were able to move to neighborhoods that offered more opportunities. “What makes it effective is not just that the money is provided but that it’s administered in just the right way,” one of the researchers tells CityLab’s Kriston Capps. “The word that comes to mind is ‘relief.’” Read the story: A Cheap, Powerful Tool to Beat Housing Segregation

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?

A new analysis by the ride-hailing giants sheds some light on a long-asked question about their congestion impacts on U.S. cities.

Laura Bliss

Mass Shootings Are Destroying Our Sense of Public Space

Gun rampages do more than kill and injure. They also damage Americans’ communal life. Yale sociologist Vida Bajc analyzes the aftershocks.

Alex Yablon

When Fear of Deportation Keeps Families From Help After a Shooting

In the aftermath of the El Paso killings, some undocumented immigrants reportedly were too afraid to seek care or help locating their relatives.

Ashley Fetters

Fix the Housing Crisis? It’s Complicated, But Not Insurmountable.

Different U.S. cities have their own versions of the housing affordability problem. It’s time for them to share solutions.

Brooks Rainwater

Coming Soon to Save (or Imperil) Democracy: Online Voting

Some voters in Provo and other Utah County cities will be able to cast ballots on a blockchain-powered mobile app in a pilot program for the August election.

Sarah Holder



What We’re Reading

New Orleans tourism goals threaten entertainers (Next City)

We’ve blamed traffic deaths on bicyclists since 1880. What about drivers? (New York Times)

July was the hottest month humans have ever recorded, data shows (Washington Post)

Inside the American Institute of Architects’s efforts to address #MeToo (Curbed)


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