Also: Cutting New Yorkers’ commute times in half, and the urbanization of music festivals.
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What We’re Following
A rising tide: For over a 100 years, Martha’s Vineyard has been a summer refuge for the wealthy, powerful, and famous. It’s also home to 17,000 year-round “islanders” who work to support much of what happens on the island—and the tension in this contrast makes it an extreme example of the affordable housing crisis sweeping the nation. While waterfront properties now hit the market for tens of millions of dollars, a substantial number of islanders become functionally homeless during the summer because they can’t afford the seasonal rental market.
Since Martha’s Vineyard is an island with tight limits on development, housing stock is limited and commuting from the mainland is a chore. But the local economy depends upon the low-wage “wealth work” that serves the vacationers. This spring, an effort to create a “housing bank” to help provide more affordable housing sparked a fiery debate in local papers—and it failed in almost every town on the island. To kick off our special August series about life in beach towns, visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger writes and illustrates her story: Staying Afloat on an Island of Wealth
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