Also: What works in creating successful civic spaces, and Chicago after Rahm Emanuel.

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What We’re Following

Old Kentucky home: The urban-rural divide has been a defining challenge for American life in the 21st century. That’s certainly true in Kentucky: Half of the state’s counties are considered rural, but population growth has concentrated in metropolitan areas. In a time when the political, economic, and cultural gulf between city dwellers and “Trump Country” denizens has become something of a media obsession, it’s too easy to forget that people aren’t completely defined by place.

That’s where the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange program aims to make a difference. Since 2014, the program has brought together leaders in diverse fields for weekend-long retreats throughout the state. Each meetup revolves around activities that reflect local life and culture—like a mapping project at the African American Museum in Bowling Green, or square dancing in Harlan County—in an effort to strengthen bonds between people across divides, real or perceived.

As one past participant puts it, “There’s a lot more diversity and a lot more that unites us throughout the state than what you realize before you do the program.” Today on CityLab, writer Sarah Baird asks: Can Exchange Programs Help Bridge the Urban-Rural Divide?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

If You Build It, They Might Not Come: Animating City Spaces

Why do revamped areas remain barren after so much thought and money are put into redesigning them? A case study in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers clues.

Meredith L. Sadin

Chicago, After Rahm

Insiders offer clues to the reasons for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s startling announcement that he won’t seek reelection. (Others just say “good riddance.”)

Tanvi Misra

The Kids Trapped on Europe’s Doorstep

The city of Melilla is a fortified pocket of Spain in Morocco, where young migrants from across Africa gather to attempt the dangerous crossing into the E.U.

Martín Echenique and Adriana Loureiro Fernández

Tel Aviv Tries to Connect an Isolated Neighborhood

The Platform, a tech center and community hub, opened last year in former bus station offices with the goal of invigorating the low-income Neve Shaanan neighborhood.

Neri Zilber

Not Everyone Is a Fan of the Male-Only Urinals of Paris

Protesters have vandalized several of the city’s new range of eco-urinals for giving men priority over women.

Feargus O'Sullivan

What Was Lost in Brazil’s Devastating Museum Fire

Two hundred years of work—and millions of priceless specimens—have been destroyed in a preventable tragedy.

Ed Yong


Bending Justice

Chart from the Urban Institute's Prison Population Forecaster
(Urban Institute)

How can policy changes affect the number of people held in state prisons? The Urban Institute launched a new forecasting tool to visualize what would happen if changes were made to a variety of admission rates and prison terms for different offenses, charting the impacts out to 2025 in each state. You can also compare how policy changes would affect the racial and ethnic makeup of prison populations, as well as the costs to state corrections spending. Give it a look and drop us a line if anything catches your attention. CityLab context: In some states, the prison population just keeps growing


What We’re Reading

Hong Kong eclipses New York as the city with most extremely wealthy people (Washington Post)

North Carolina can use its gerrymandered maps in November, court rules (NPR)

Local news is dying and taking small town America with it (Bloomberg)

Homelessness ruling: Sleeping on the street can’t be a crime when no shelters are available (Governing)


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