Also: Service jobs as a pathway to the middle class, and closing the racial wealth gap might not be possible.

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What We’re Following

Down payment: It used to be that most young adults aspired to get married and buy a house, in that order. But Millennials, facing steep financial barriers and a tough housing market, have flipped the script on the American Dream. New homeowners aren’t much older than before, but today, a larger share of them are closing on their first homes before getting hitched and forming new households at the time of purchase.

The changing attitudes of Millennials aren’t the only shift. A new working paper from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies crunched the demographic data and found that the profile of first-time homebuyers in the U.S. looks a very different than it did 20 years ago. CityLab’s Linda Poon has the story: The Changing Face of First-Time Homebuyers

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Future of the Middle Class Depends on Upgrading Service Jobs

More than 70 million Americans hold low-wage, precarious service jobs. We must make these jobs a pathway to the middle class.

Richard Florida

A Free $1,000 That Isn't Andrew Yang's UBI

Supported by private philanthropy, the Workers Strength Fund is giving 500 gig workers in four cities $1,000 in no-strings-attached cash.

Sarah Holder

Closing the Black-White Racial Wealth Gap Might Not Be Possible

White families quickly recuperated financial losses after the Civil War, and then created a Jim Crow credit system to bring more white families into money.

Brentin Mock

What's the Deal With AOC's Retro-Style GND Posters?

Posters for the Green New Deal unveiled by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez strongly evoke a famous Depression-era federal art program.

Amanda Kolson Hurley

Why Hong Kongers Are Toppling Lampposts

For protesters, claims of Chinese surveillance are politically useful, even when they can’t be proved.

Sidney Fussell


Safe Haven

(Designing Justice + Designing Spaces)

When people think of terms like “public safety” or “justice,” images of prisons and jails come to mind. This fall, Restore Oakland wants to make the idea of “restorative justice” more concrete, opening a space dedicated to keeping the community safe and breaking the cycle of poverty and imprisonment. The nonprofit hub will be a collaborative meeting environment for the community, leasing space to local organizations, providing job training and housing assistance, and even hosting a restaurant on the ground floor. “If we’re going to have strong communities, we need strong community-centered institutions,” Zachary Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, tells CityLab’s Sarah Holder. Read: America’s First Hub for Restorative Justice Will Open in Oakland


What We’re Reading

As rising heat bakes U.S. cities, the poor often feel it most (NPR)

When did we start paying to park our cars? (JSTOR Daily)

The true cost of next-day delivery (BuzzFeed News)

London is changing skyscraper designs to favor bicyclists (Wired)

Where are the architects who will put the environment first? (The Guardian)


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