Also: Create better jobs by fixing the bad ones, and the complex statistics of mass incarceration.

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What We’re Following

Motown classic: In recent years, American automakers have been rebranding as “mobility” companies, pitching a more communal future of transportation… so of course Ford bought a train station. With the acquisition of the Michigan Central Station in downtown Detroit, the company is putting a physical stake in the city’s future.

In four years, the 1913 Beaux-Arts depot that saw its last train depart three decades ago will become the central hub of Ford’s 1.2 million-square foot corporate campus in the neighborhood of Corktown. But the company’s downtown presence isn’t just a perk to attract a younger workforce; it’s also a test ground for autonomous vehicles. CityLab’s Laura Bliss has the story: Ford’s Detroit Investments Are Bigger Than a Train Station.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

We Can Create Better Jobs—by Fixing the Bad Ones

More than 65 million Americans toil in insecure, low-paying jobs. Instead of hoping they will all find different, and better, jobs, we should upgrade the ones they already have.

Richard Florida

More Than 300,000 U.S. Homes Could Flood Regularly by 2045

A new study finds that at the high end of predicted sea-level rise, many thousands of homes in the U.S. could flood 26 times a year.

Oliver Milman

Mass Incarceration’s Complex Statistics

A new study from the Vera Institute of Justice says that we should look closely at the populations, and relationship, of local jails and state prisons.

Teresa Mathew

Water Cremation Could Change the American Way of Death

Some people see “aquamation” as a greener—and gentler—way to treat bodies after death, but only 15 states allow it for human remains.

Emily Atkin

The Story of South Dallas in the Cover Art of Nas’ New Album

A photo of five young black boys holds the story of drugs, racial segregation, and despair in South Dallas.

Brentin Mock


Burden of Roof

A chart shows median renter incomes compared to median gross rents

You already knew the rent was too damn high, but how long has that been the case? Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies finds in its latest State of the Nation’s Housing report that the gap between rents and renter income has been growing for a long time. The yellow bars on this chart show that the share of households that are burdened by housing costs has doubled since the 1960s—from 23.8 percent then to 47.5 percent in 2016. And the affordability gap is far from making ends meet: Adjusting for inflation, the median rent payment rose 61 percent between 1960 and 2016, while the median renter income grew only 5 percent during the same time.

CityLab context: If rent were affordable, the average household would save $6,200 a year


What We’re Reading

How the Koch brothers are killing public transit projects around the country (New York Times)

Black families were pushed out of Portland. Can this program bring them back? (PBS NewsHour)

U.S. housing market continues to rebound, despite increased inequality (Curbed)

Climate change-related heat waves will be deadly for people who are homeless (Slate)

South Bend’s “Mayor Pete” gets married, takes his husband to a parade (New York Times)


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