Also: Vulnerable and unprepared for climate change, and the problem with Amazon’s cheap gas stunt.

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What We’re Following

Square the circle: At the end of July, the mobile payment company Square announced it would be investing in a new space and a significantly larger workforce in downtown St. Louis, where company founders Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey grew up. As the company signed a 15-year lease in a building that used to house the city’s last daily newspaper, it made another commitment: a promise to fund the demolition of vacant houses.

Dorsey is injecting half a million dollars into the St. Louis Blight Authority, a private group that will help the city demolish some of its 7,000 vacant buildings. But the demolitions are concentrated on the north side, where almost all the residents are black. Meanwhile, development incentives are being funneled to wealthier and whiter neighborhoods. “The effect of St. Louis’ efforts will increase the value of central city neighborhoods while demolishing and depreciating the north side,” writes Michael Allen, a lecturer in urban design at Washington University in St. Louis. Read his perspective on CityLab: Downtown St. Louis Is Rising; Black St. Louis Is Being Razed

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Climate Change Readiness: Cities Most at Risk Are the Least Prepared

New studies find cities most vulnerable to climate change disasters—heat waves, flooding, rising seas, drought—are the least prepared.

Brentin Mock

The Problem With Amazon’s Cheap Gas Stunt

The company promoted its TV show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with a day of throwback 1959-style prices in Los Angeles. What could go wrong?

Laura Bliss

Why Can’t I Take Public Transit to the Beach?

In the U.S., getting to the beach usually means driving. But some sandy shores can still be reached by train, subway, and bus.

Linda Poon

How HUD Could Dismantle a Pillar of Civil Rights Law

The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to revise the “disparate impact” rule, which could fundamentally reshape federal fair housing enforcement.  

Kriston Capps

Are Small Businesses Really Fleeing New York? This Tool Can Tell.

A first-of-its-kind law will give the city data on small businesses fleeing the city as retail rents skyrocket. But skeptics fear that won’t be enough.

John Surico



What We’re Reading

Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who held Eric Garner in a chokehold, is fired (New York Times)

The terrorized Mississippi towns that ICE left behind (Slate)

Amid a homelessness crisis, Los Angeles restricts living in vehicles (NPR)

Welcome to Housing Twitter, the shoutiest debate on the internet (Fast Company)

Nipsey Hussle understood cities better than you (Streetsblog)


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