Also: Central Park’s hungry creatures of the night, and where environmental justice is threatened in the Carolinas.

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What We’re Following

Who’s counting: Affordable housing isn’t cheap to build. It’s no surprise that it costs more to build where land prices are higher, but there’s another factor that inflates the costs: local regulations. When homeowners and neighborhoods fight to slow or stop development, it makes low-income developments harder and more expensive to build. But we don’t know how much.

Since 2010, the federal government has helped finance some 50,000 affordable units every year through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. As CityLab’s Kriston Capps reports, when the Government Accountability Office released a long-awaited report last week about the effectiveness of the program, it didn’t attempt to gauge the effect that regulatory burdens had on building more units. Without that data, it’s still tough to answer an important question: How much does NIMBYism cost?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Delving Into the Nocturnal City of the Synanthrope

Audio tours invite New Yorkers to explore the nighttime lives of the animals whose habitat they share.

Allison C. Meier

Mapping Where Environmental Justice Is Most Threatened in the Carolinas

Eight places have long been vulnerable—and without them, we may not have the language, knowledge, and tools to fight environmental injustice in the age of climate change.

Brentin Mock

The Parks Where Kids (and Their Parents) Walk and Read at the Same Time

Some libraries are getting young kids reading by taking the books outside.

Linda Poon

The Fight for LGBT Rights Has Moved to the Suburbs

Many Americans still associate LGBTQ life with urban “gayborhoods.” But the Masterpiece Cakeshop case highlights how sexual diversity in suburbia is growing.

Clayton Howard

After Maria, an ‘Earthship’ Rises in Puerto Rico

In western Puerto Rico, families and volunteers are building a low-tech, resilient haven out of earth, tires, and trash.

Jayme Gershen

Giving an Underrepresented Community and City a Place in Literature

There There author Tommy Orange discusses his experience telling stories about Oakland and Native Americans, and why cities should be seen as part of the natural environment.

Gracie McKenzie


What We’re Reading

The secret life of teen scooter outlaws (The Verge)

Why mayors and urban leaders could have a bigger impact on the 2018 election (Curbed)

Are landlords telling the truth? New York City doesn’t always check. This guy does. (New York Times)

What happens to police departments that collect more fines? They solve fewer crimes. (Washington Post)

Podcast alert: “The City” launches today, starting in Chicago (USA Today)


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