Also: Returning to “Edge City,” and a suburb’s avocado-filled attempt to lure Millennials.

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What We’re Following

Building on King: Shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller wanted to build on King’s memory. From these efforts, the New York State Urban Development Corporation was born.

Between 1968 and 1975, the superagency designed tens of thousands of affordable housing units from Niagara Falls to Montauk. It planned high-rises, low-rises, urban, suburban, Brutalist, Postmodern; each existing so that non-wealthy New Yorkers could live a better life in a struggling city or a thriving suburb. But then it ran out of money—and political protection.

For the latest piece in our Cities on Fire 1968 series, CityLab’s Mark Byrnes explores how the UDC’s ambitions, design, and political opposition shed light on the challenges of high-quality affordable housing: Out of a National Tragedy, a Housing Solution.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Return to Edge City

It was one of the most talked-about urbanist books, and ideas, a generation ago. What ever happened to Joel Garreau’s concept of the “edge city”?

Jake Blumgart

The Case for a Black Census

A new project is intended to “give us a better sense of who black people are, where we are, and what we hope and dream for,” says Alicia Garza who also helped start the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tanvi Misra

The Suburb Wooing Millennials With Avocados, Kombucha, and Cheap Houses

In a new comic-strip ad campaign, Homewood, Illinois, bills itself as a hip, diverse, urban neighborhood that Millennials can afford. The only catch: It’s in the suburbs.

Amanda Kolson Hurley

What Should I Do With My Family's Confederate Hero?

My great-great-great-grandfather, a Civil War general and reputed Klan leader, sits atop an equestrian statue in front of the Georgia State Capitol. Some local lawmakers think it’s time for him to come down.

Mimi Kirk

The Evolution of Domestic Spying Since MLK in Memphis

Memphis began spying on local activists around the time when Martin Luther King came to advocate for city sanitation workers. A 1976 consent decree was supposed to put an end to that, but a new pending lawsuit against the city suggests it's still happening.

Brentin Mock


Chart of the Day

RentCafe chart showing increases in single- and multi-family rentals in the U.S.

Since the Great Recession, single-family rental housing has expanded twice as much as multi-family rentals, according to RentCafe. The apartment rental site, pulling Census data from 2007 and 2016, found that was the case for 22 of 30 city rental markets. Phoenix, Arizona, tops the list for growth of single-family rentals, with a 77 percent increase. Boston, Massachusetts, and Fort Worth, Texas, follow with similar family home rental growth, but they also crack into the top 10 list for share of apartments rentals. Taken as a whole, the data demonstrates how housing choices shifted in the years after the recession. CityLab context: Is the rental housing explosion over?


What We’re Reading

Los Angeles tries a new strategy: social workers on the subway (Los Angeles Times)

The South’s push to resegregate schools (Bloomberg)

Immigrants founded more than 40 percent of new companies in some U.S. states (Quartz)

A D.C. ridehailing company discriminated against minority communities for two years (Slate)

The U.S. is winning the climate fight on electricity—and losing it just about everywhere else (Vox)


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