Also: Is the fight for fair housing over? And which cities give you the most bang for your buck?

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.

***

What We’re Following

Watershed moment: One year after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, the city is facing a choice. Harris County residents are set to vote on a $2.5 billion bond package to fund flood mitigation and prevention projects. One expert says that package is just the first step, as eight counties in the area consider how to respond to the $125 billion in damage Harvey wrought last year.

While greater Houston shares a common interest in staying dry, its municipalities are also competing with each other to preserve what made the metro area a boomtown—its reputation as a low-tax, low-regulation environment where housing costs have remained relatively low. But building a flood-resilient Houston will mean raising taxes and giving land to water. As a city driven by the oil industry reckons with the real risks of climate change, it’s now weighing a multi-billion-dollar bet to survive the next Harvey.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Is the Fight for Fair Housing Over?

Another question: Will it ever start?

Kriston Capps

Released Prisoners Struggle to Establish Neighborhood Connections

Black and Hispanic former prisoners end up in more disadvantaged areas than whites, and many do not find any place to attach to at all.

Richard Florida

When a Baby’s Health Hangs on the Mother’s Zip Code  

As Fresno’s stark racial disparities show, birth outcomes are not just a barometer of a mother's health—they signal the health of the community.

Margaret Katcher

New York Public Library Brings Literary Classics to Instagram

The whimsical Insta Novel program wants you to reconsider the roles of libraries and social media.

Linda Poon

Gasping for Air in India’s Industrial North

Air pollution kills one million Indians annually. In the northern city of Patna, the toxic air shaves an average of four years off residents’ lives.

Gayathri Vaidyanathan


Big Bang Theory

A map shows salaries adjusted for cost in U.S. metro areas.

While salaries may be highest in New York or San Francisco, those cities certainly aren’t the most affordable. To stretch your earnings the furthest, it’s places like Duluth, Minnesota, or San Antonio, Texas, where even a modest paycheck keeps up better with the cost of living. A new analysis from Indeed’s Jed Kolko identifies which places have the best relative balance between salary and cost of living.

The map above shows that the towns with the highest adjusted average annual earnings tend to be smaller cities in the nation’s interior. And Kolko finds it might not take a cross-country move to make your salary go a bit further than it does now: A better city may be less than a day’s drive away. CityLab’s Tanvi Misra takes a look at the cities where you get the biggest bang for your buck.


What We’re Reading

Details of Uber harassment settlement released (NPR)

Study finds apps increase crashes and speeding violations for drivers and couriers (The Guardian)

Trump’s FTA has gone rogue (Streetsblog)

The last project of America’s golden age of infrastructure is finished—61 years later (Quartz)


Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to hello@citylab.com.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California
    Life

    America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

    Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

  2. Life

    How Poverty Alters the Young Brain

    New research reveals a strong connection between income and the surface area of several key neural regions.

  3. Two men plant a young tree in a lot in Detroit.
    Environment

    Why Detroit Residents Pushed Back Against Tree-Planting

    Detroiters were refusing city-sponsored “free trees.” A researcher found out the problem: She was the first person to ask them if they wanted them.

  4. a photo of a man surveying a home garage.
    Transportation

    How Single-Family Garages Can Ease California's Housing Crisis

    Given the affordable housing crisis, California cities should encourage single-family homeowners to convert garages into apartments and accessory dwelling units.

  5. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.