Also today: How to care for your Portman hotel, and America’s main streets are no match for Amazon.

What We’re Following

Where do mass shootings take place? While the tragic pattern of who commits mass shootings fits a particular profile, where these attacks occur is less demographically predictable. As CityLab’s Richard Florida and Alastair Boone write, the places that suffer mass shootings run the full gamut of American communities, leaving victims that look a lot more like the country as a whole.

Also: Tanvi Misra takes a comprehensive, state-by-state look at the policies and outcomes of gun control in the United States.

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

How to Care for Your Portman Hotel

Architects chime in on how to make the right interventions inside and out of the late developer-architect’s distinct buildings.

Mark Byrnes

A Small Town Kept Walmart Out. Now It Faces Amazon.

How can local businesses compete with a company so local it lets people shop from their couches?

Alana Semuels

New Report Says FEMA Badly Underestimates Flood Risk

41 million Americans—not 13 million—are at risk of experiencing a 100-year flood, according to the study.

Michael Isaac Stein

Brussels Makes an Extreme Plan to Fight Pollution Emergencies

When the air gets bad, transit would be free. When it gets worse, the city would effectively grind to a halt.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Britain Plans a Memorial for Grenfell, a Tragedy That's Far From Over

Survivors will get a final say over the site’s future. Meanwhile, little has been done to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Feargus O'Sullivan


Barack Obama points at a map of his proposed presidential library.
(Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Yesterday we asked for your thoughts on Barack Obama’s comments about whether his presidential library would cause gentrification on the Southside. Several readers took issue with use of “debacle” in our subject line, and we hear you; “conundrum” would’ve been a better fit. Many others weighed in on Obama’s remarks. Here’s a sample:

Katie H. from Chicago:

WBEZ's Natalie Moore has done great reporting on the neighborhoods that are and are not gentrifying in Chicago. While gentrification is a huge problem in the city, particularly in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, the West and South sides that are overwhelmingly black have the opposite problem—generations of disinvestment. This is a thorny, complicated issue, and I don't know what the Obama Foundation will bring for the future, but as far as his analysis on the current state of Chicago... he's right.


Stephen D. from Middletown, Connecticut:

If a fancy $6 cupcake store brings to the neighborhood people with the expectations of good schools and low crime and the power to demand them, then the "gentrification" represented by the cupcake store has benefited the people of the neighborhood. However, communities need to be vigilant about the trends in the relationship between incomes and rents... The time to write such language is before there is substantial gentrification.


David C. from Houston:

“Gentrification” is a fake meme that acts as a pejorative to keep people at bay, away from a neighborhood that doesn’t want them. If “displacement” is a problem because somebody improved a structure and taxes went up, Obama is absolutely right: address that specific problem with those specific people.


Thanks to all who commented. As always, you can reach us at

What We’re Reading

Let Ben Carson keep his fancy furniture (Slate)

Are American cities making progress on traffic safety? (Streetsblog)

Seattle digitizes its anti-freeway history (Next City)

Microsoft makes an app to help visually impaired people navigate cities (TechCrunch)

For your weekend binge-watching: 101 urbanist movies (Curbed)

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