Also: How to fix Bronx bus service, and detecting tsunamis before it’s too late.

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What We’re Following

Flyover data: In yesterday’s newsletter, we talked about where to find a “bargain” on upward mobility in urban areas, using a new interactive mapping tool. Today we’re looking at one of the less appreciated parts of that story: rural areas. Despite the narrative of cities and suburbs as opportunity-rich places, kids who grow up in low-income families in rural areas actually have a better shot at moving up the ladder than their urban counterparts.

A map shows economic mobility in and around Des Moines, Iowa.
Low-income youth from the rural outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa, have better upward economic mobility than kids from the urban core. (The Opportunity Atlas)

In fact, two recent studies of earlier data from economist Raj Chetty found that upward mobility declines with proximity to a major urban center: The further someone grows up from a metropolitan area, the more likely it is that their economic standing will improve later in life. That pattern doesn’t graft perfectly on every city or neighborhood, especially in the South. But as CityLab’s Richard Florida writes, it offers a chance for each type of place to learn something from the other—and defies what we think of as the urban-rural divide.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

How to Fix Bronx Bus Service? Ask the Commuters.

Riders in New York City’s poorest borough gave the MTA an earful about how to fix their system.

John Surico

A Turf War Over the Next Generation of Wireless Internet

5G networks need lots of new equipment in public spaces. The federal government just limited what cities can do about that, and mayors say they’re prepared to fight back.

Rob Pegoraro

Can We Detect Tsunamis Before It’s Too Late?

Even the world’s best system “is really not a technological solution to the problem of a near-field tsunami.”

Robinson Meyer

The Toxins of Camden

It wafts and weaves through the struggling industrial city, disproportionately affecting its public school students.

Ariel Aberg-Riger

I Hate-Watch ‘House Hunters’ to Understand Segregation

The HGTV show highlights more than just open kitchens and bickering couples

Natalie Y. Moore



What We’re Reading

The radical plan to spread Mexico City’s agencies into smaller cities (The Guardian)

What makes rent “affordable?” (Slate)

A bus driver is found guilty in last year’s Citi Bike death. (New York Times)

Senator Elizabeth Warren breaks down America’s ugly history of housing discrimination (The Root)

County by county, ICE faces a growing backlash (Washington Post)


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