Also: Rebuilding a destroyed historic downtown, and how transit-rich neighborhoods are more affordable.
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What We’re Following
Washed up: On Sunday, a thousand-year flood put Main Street under water in Ellicott City, Maryland—for the second time in two years (NPR). Having just rebounded from the 2016 devastation, flood-hammered residents and businesses are wondering if they will stay and rebuild again: “We can’t keep losing people to this madness,” a local toy shop owner told USA Today. “These floods go from inches to feet in the blink of an eye. No amount of detection or warnings are going to help. This area isn’t worth saving if it’s going to cost people’s lives.”
Critical damage to historic downtowns happens more than you’d think, whether it’s floods, fires, or hurricanes. In March, CityLab explored how recovery from a fire in Clarkesville, Georgia, launched an essential conversation about what a historic town square should be. And when it comes to the growing flood risks of flooding, it pays to act fast: Ignoring the problem could spark a housing-market crash.
Rounded down: A study estimates that Puerto Rico’s death toll from Hurricane Maria may be around 5,000 people, compared to the official count of just 64. (NPR)
More on CityLab
Home Shopping Net Worth
In 2016, national house prices returned to about where they were before the Great Recession. According to the Urban Institute’s State Economic Monitor, home prices are now about 14.5 percent above their pre-recession peak in 2007. The map above shows how home prices increased across the U.S. between the first quarters of 2017 and 2018. Nevada tops the list, at 13.7 percent, followed by Washington, Idaho, and Colorado with increases over 10 percent in the last year. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia saw prices increase 5 percent or more, and the nationwide increase was 6.9 percent.
What We’re Reading
Our broken trust in public space (New York Times)
What can bees teach us about building better urban ecosystems (Next City)
Ride-hailing companies are terrible at providing wheelchair-accessible service (The Verge)
Demanding public rights in private spaces: lessons of the Starbucks controversy (Vox)
An undocumented immigrant saved a child dangling from a Paris balcony. Now he’s a national hero. (Washington Post)