Also: The racist roots of Trump’s “public charge” policy, and the future of the city is thirsty.

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What We’re Following

Homecoming: Just outside of Cleveland, the childhood home of Toni Morrison sits in the working-class town of Lorain, Ohio. Morrison once described her home state as “neither plantation nor ghetto,” and that’s how professor Tara Conley, who grew up just over the bridge in Elyria, remembers it too.

Conley was already traveling home to the area when she learned of Morrison’s death. That’s when her journey became a pilgrimage to a place she once knew, but that now feels foreign. “Morrison’s home represented her gift to black people, a call on us to remember who we are by how we move in the world,” Conley writes today on CityLab. When returning, however, Conley found a town that’s pushing to forget that offering, and she gained a deeper understanding of Morrison’s prescient 2002 lecture about “the matter of foreignness.” Today on CityLab: In Toni Morrison’s Hometown, the Familiar Has Become Foreign

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Racist Roots of Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Policy

The changes to the “public charge” rule fit into a long history of attempting to restrict immigration based on race and ethnicity.

Brentin Mock

The Future of the City Is Thirsty

A new WRI report on 15 cities across the Global South reveals that access to safe drinking water is often underestimated—and the challenge will only get worse.

Linda Poon

It’s Surprisingly Hard to Find Out How Rats Move Through Cities

To address rodent-related concerns, it’s useful to know how rats travel. Genetic testing might hold some answers.

Kaylee Byers

All I Really Needed to Know About Cities I Learned From ‘Jaws’

Want to understand how public meetings work, the power of place-based branding, and why bad mayors keep getting re-elected? Look no further than Amity Island.

David Dudley

With Zoning Change, Des Moines Hopes to Lure Suburbanites

In Des Moines, Iowa, zoning rules regulating lot size, housing styles, and building materials will make new homes too expensive, builders warn.

Kriston Capps


Atomic Clock

A sacred Torii Gate stands over the completely destroyed area of a Shinto shrine in Nagasaki, Japan, after the atomic bombing of August 1945. (AP)

Last week marked the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It also marked a related anniversary in another Japanese city, Kokura, which was spared nuclear destruction not once, but twice, in August 1945. As American bombers set their sights on Kokura, weather conditions favored other targets. The near-misses still loom over the current city: Each summer, the anniversary is marked by public memorials and education programs that address hopes for peace, and emphasize a special relationship with the two cities that did not escape the bomb. On CityLab: The City the A-Bomb Missed


What We’re Reading

Extreme climate change has reached America: Here are the fastest-warming places (Washington Post)

“Rowhouse” or “rowhome”? The tangled history of a uniquely Philadelphian term (WHYY)

How segregation caused your traffic jam (New York Times)

With a focus on food sovereignty, rural Appalachian Ohio is rebounding (Civil Eats)

The governor of Texas said San Antonio could teach Austin how to help homeless people. Experts disagree. (Texas Tribune)


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