Also: The geography of health in America, and why you can’t win the war on noise.

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What We’re Following

At your service: While private sector job growth has bounced back from the recession, public service work—once a foothold into the middle class for teachers, firefighters, bus drivers, or nurses—has eroded. Today, The New York Times visits Oklahoma to see how post-recession budget shortfalls have changed life for public-sector employees, who now account for their smallest share of the civilian workforce since 1967.

As teachers there and in other states protest for higher wages, this quote, from a career public servant, really stands out: “I was surprised to realize along the way I was no longer middle class.” Earlier this month, Oklahoma’s Republican governor approved the state’s first tax increase in 28 years in order to raise teachers’ pay. Later this week, Arizona teachers plan to walk out for more education funding.

CityLab context: Why America’s teachers haven’t been getting raises.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Geography of Health in America

A new county-by-county report finds that blacks and Native Americans have the most dire health statistics in the United States.

Alastair Boone

Does a Higher Building Elevation Lead to More Risk-Taking?

A new study suggests that being on a higher floor in a building increases a person’s willingness to take financial risks.  

Teresa Mathew

The Case for Preserving Mobile Homes

Preservationist and landscape architect Eduard Krakhmalnikov thinks these places are overlooked in the national conversation on affordable housing.

Carson Bear

You Cannot Win the War on Noise

For centuries, Western culture has been trying to find some peace and quiet. But the more people try to keep unwanted sound out, the more sensitive they become to it.

Matthew Jordan

Getting High is a Civil Right

James Foreman Jr.’s book Locking Up Our Own, which won a Pulitzer Prize, shows how plans to decriminalize cannabis to help black people were derailed in Washington, D.C. in 1975, by black people.

Brentin Mock


Video of the Day

Gif from "The Case for a Car-Free Central Park"

On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to make Central Park car-free starting in June. But the fight to make the park pedestrian-friendly goes way back. Streetsfilms shared a re-cut of its short 2004 advocacy video “The Case for a Car-Free Central Park,” featuring Ken Coughlin, the chairperson of the Car-Free Central Park Committee, who began organizing to ban cars back in 1995. It also features some retro New Yorkers jogging, biking, and even rollerblading through the park as Coughlin gets people to sign the car-free petition.

Central Park history on CityLab: When wealthy New Yorkers decided to build Central Park, they eliminated an egalitarian community known as Seneca Village.


What We’re Reading

Sean Hannity’s real estate portfolio includes housing insured by HUD loans (The Guardian)

This tiny-house village allows drugs in Seattle. Should it have been put in a high drug-traffic area? (Seattle Times)

To buy or to rent: The great homeownership debate (Curbed)

Why was California’s radical housing bill so unpopular? (Slate)


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