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

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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)


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