Also: 1,000 strangers talk race in Los Angeles, and the weirdest Earth Day celebrations.

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What We’re Following

Taken for granted: Federal judges didn’t mince words Thursday when ruling against the Justice Department in its fight to withhold federal grant money from “sanctuary cities.” The ruling states that cities don’t have to provide federal immigration authorities with certain kinds of help—like notifying when an undocumented immigrant was in their custody or holding an inmate for 48 hours—to receive federal grant money, as BuzzFeed News reports. This deals a blow to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department, taking away a point of leverage in the cities-versus-feds immigration battle. The Republican-appointed judges, ruling from the 7th Circuit, said if Sessions had his way, “a check against tyranny is forsaken.” (Washington Post)

Marching for Columbine: Today’s National School Walkout for gun safety has high school students across the country marching to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. Vox has first-person accounts from 6 survivors of that massacre, and on CityLab, we have an update on the latest city-state preemption battle over gun control legislation: This time it’s in South Carolina.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Does Homeownership Really 'Drive' the Black-White Wealth Gap?

A new paper debunks various myths about the wealth gap between blacks and whites in the United States, and the methods for bridging it.

Tanvi Misra

What Happens When 1,000 Strangers Talk Race In L.A.?

Angelenos gathered at 100 dinners this week through a city-backed initiative to spark civic and civil dialogue.

Laura Bliss

The Weirdest Ways That U.S. Cities Are Celebrating Earth Day

From group oyster-shell bagging to a naked bike ride, some Earth Day events are more colorful than the standard festivals and tree plantings.

Alastair Boone

U.S. Homebuying Slows Down, But Not for Hispanics

During 2017, more than 167,000 Latinos became homeowners, significantly contributing to the country's economy. However, doubts around immigration issues make their future in the real estate market uncertain.

Martín Echenique

Lyft Delivers Carbon-Neutral Rides

The ride-hailing company announced on Thursday that it plans to become one of the largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets in the world.

Laura Bliss


History Lesson

Scotney Castle (Hannah Denski/Shutterstock)
Scotney Castle (Hannah Denski/Shutterstock)

Long before pre-faded jeans or wannabe dive bars, there were “ruin follies.” While ruins have always captured the imagination, these fake ones became a big hit among Europe’s 18th-century aristocracy. The prefabricated, dilapidated buildings popped up from scratch, or from existing buildings that were destroyed to create a dramatic Gothic effect. This is the history of the fake dilapidated buildings that Europe couldn’t get enough of.


What We’re Reading

The end of the architect profile (Curbed)

There’s no good alternative to building more homes in expensive cities (Vox)

Data systems can be the air traffic control tower of urban mobility (Fast Company)

The canary in the coal pond (ProPublica)


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