Also: California just upended gig work, and a new realm for maps that lie.

What We’re Following

On the skids: President Donald Trump plans to wade into the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, according to a report in the Washington Post. As officials from the White House, HUD, and other agencies visit their counterparts in Los Angeles, they are weighing several possible steps, including moving unhoused people into facilities administered by the federal government and razing encampments like downtown L.A.’s Skid Row area.

The prospect of a federal intervention is raising red flags among city leaders and advocates for the homeless, who say clearing camps would be disruptive and expensive. It’s also not clear that the president has the power to order such a sweep. “The federal government doesn’t have a legal authority to make people who are homeless go anywhere they don’t want to go,” one advocate says. While there are lots of ways the feds could help address California’s crisis of homelessness—starting with funding affordable housing programs and other services designed to keep low-income residents sheltered—experts and city leaders tell CityLab’s Sarah Holder and Kriston Capps that the administration’s approach could make things worse by using Skid Row as a stage for political theater. Read their story: The White House Is Planning a Federal Intervention on California Homelessness

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

California Just Upended Gig Work. Other Cities and States Could Follow

Legislators approved a bill that would reclassify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees, but the debate over gig worker rights is only beginning.

Sarah Holder

What Makes Silicon Valley Different?

Historian Margaret O’Mara talks about her book The Code and how Silicon Valley has maintained its competitive edge in high tech.

Richard Florida

Yes, Maps Can Lie. But Not Like This.

Mark Monmonier, the author of How to Lie With Maps, has seen a lot of misleading and deceptive maps. But Trump’s doctored Dorian forecast is a new one.

Laura Bliss

Dutch Cities Try a ‘Weed Test’ to Fix a Quirk of Legal Cannabis

Criminal gangs have prospered from the Netherlands’ ban against growing marijuana. Can city-approved cannabis freeze them out of a legalized trade?

Feargus O'Sullivan

America’s Transportation History is Full of Mistakes. Let’s Not Make Another One.

Instead of battling it out, cities and private mobility companies have an opportunity to work together and lay the foundation for a multimodal future.

Tiffany Chu


Through the Lens

Camilo José Vergara, “Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, 1979.” (National Building Museum)

There was something magical about them… It was so odd! Two rectangles that grew so tall. You thought, well, they must have some religious meaning. They picked up the light. Sometimes they looked completely transparent.

From the CityLab archives: One Photographer’s View of New York, Before and After 9/11


What We’re Reading

Housing proposal backed by AOC and the Squad takes aim at the affordability crisis (Curbed)

Could Kamala Harris adapt the government’s airplane-safety model to stem police shootings? (The Marshall Project)

An activist who helped tear down Memphis’ Confederate monuments is running to be the city’s first female mayor (Huffington Post)

Census Bureau reports the poverty rate is down, but millions are still poor (NPR)


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