Also: Awful commuting unites us all, and the playful brilliance of Will Alsop.

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What We’re Following

An inconvenient roof: As home prices, rents, and homelessness rise in many U.S. cities, housing affordability has barely registered as an issue in national politics. Now, with the growing consensus that the United States isn’t building enough homes anywhere, housing advocates, business leaders, and philanthropic groups are on a mission to sound the alarm about a “silent crisis.”

Their first order of business is to educate people about just how serious the problem really is. One group is producing a feature-length documentary to raise the political profile of the American housing dilemma, à la Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Another is making housing underproduction a new metric for cities. “Like the fight against climate change,” CityLab’s Benjamin Schneider writes, “the battle for better housing policy could be a frustratingly long one.” But the housing crisis may soon become America’s next big political issue.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

3 Cities, 3 Terrible Commutes

A new documentary follows the epic journeys faced by commuters in Istanbul, Mexico City, and Los Angeles.

Juan Pablo Garnham

Why Is It So Hard to Figure Out When the Bus Is Coming?

Meet the young map nerds on a quest to build a better bus app.

Laura Bliss

The Zany, Playful Brilliance of Will Alsop

You knew a building was his the second you set eyes on it. But the late British architect still managed to surprise.

Darran Anderson

How to Mark an American Atrocity

At the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, the pain and horror of racial violence assume physical form.

Bryan Lee Jr.

Few Will Be Spared From Michigan's Medicaid Work Requirements

A potential new state law has been criticized for placing burdens to retain Medicaid coverage primarily on blacks. But the bill's onerous rules are likely to affect almost every recipient.

Kriston Capps


City Checkup

Map from NYU School of Medicine's City Health Dashboard

Where you live determines a lot about your health—and, as the new City Health Dashboard shows, there’s a lot of vital information to check up on. The dashboard, created by the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, reports on 36 key measures and drivers of health, such as opioid overdose deaths, obesity, housing affordability, and income inequality.

The tool drills down to the ZIP code or census tract level in the 500 largest cities in the United States, allowing you to compare health outcomes to the country’s average. You can generate maps of health measures, compare cities on different indexes, and even generate scatter plots to draw out correlations between variables. Consider the example above with Columbus, Ohio, where lead exposure risk is higher than the national average. CityLab context: Who wins when a city gets smart?


What We’re Reading

Now taking suggestions for “smart city” synonyms. (Statescoop)

People in small towns and rural areas are happier—at least, in Canada. (Washington Post)

There are better ways to get around town. (New York Times)

Is Chicago experiencing a historic preservation crisis? (Chicago Magazine)

ICE claimed a Dreamer was “gang-affiliated” and tried to deport him. A federal judge ruled ICE was lying. (Slate)


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