Leaning on the Land
More and more communities are considering reviving an old tax idea that’s been tried in only a few places.
As Governing’s urban policy writer, Brian covers a broad array of issues affecting the nation’s cities. Before joining Governing, Brian was an opinion editor with The Hill newspaper, where he focused on publishing op-eds on criminal justice, race and education. He also written extensively on police reform and public health.
More and more communities are considering reviving an old tax idea that’s been tried in only a few places.
From Boston to Miami, coastal cities are changing where and how developers can build in order to protect homes and property from future flooding.
Making neighborhoods denser is an idea with growing appeal. The question is whether it works.
It involves tweaking the tone and the look of letters home to parents.
But a handful of cities are starting to provide counsel in civil court.
Chicago's new mayor is the latest to carve out a position for a chief equity officer who focuses on racial and economic diversity and discrimination.
Washington just became the first U.S. state to sanction "human composting," the latest eco-friendly alternative to traditional burial and cremation.
The city is the latest government to be targeted by hackers and forced to decide whether to pay to restore vital public services.
Initiative 300, a first-of-its-kind ballot measure that even divided advocates for the homeless, failed on Tuesday by an overwhelming margin.
The city keeps getting slapped for the poor condition of its public housing. Nothing has changed so far.
With 8,700 low-income communities competing for private investment, some places are topping on the incentives to make themselves stand out.
The biggest school reform movement in the past decade is taking some hits.
The nation’s largest police force has developed a first-of-its-kind algorithm to track crimes across the city and identify patterns. Privacy advocates worry it will reinforce existing racial biases.
In the past decade, there was a 43 percent increase in renters over the age of 60. The trend brings with it new challenges -- and benefits -- for cities.
It's the first in the nation to pass a rent control law that covers tenants across an entire state.
The online retail giant's plans in New York attracted bad PR for a new federal program aimed at helping economically distressed areas like Long Island City.
After experiencing explosive growth in recent years, the city is tripling its spending to address the shortage of lower-income units.
The president touted a bipartisan bill he signed to reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. But he's been quiet about his support for a new juvenile justice law that could impact more people.
A new law in Massachusetts aims to curb short-term rentals, which critics say are limiting the affordable housing stock and turning residential property into unregulated hotels.
A new program may be a boon to struggling cities -- if it targets the right ones.
Cities' efforts to get tough on crime can make it harder for low-income residents to find good jobs and housing.
Decades of local zoning regulations and land-use policies have kept racial segregation firmly rooted in place.
Segregated schools aren’t just the products of segregated neighborhoods. In many cases, predominantly white schools are driving the racial divide.
The black-white divide is still a major problem. Government policies are partially to blame.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors gathered in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to discuss its agenda and tout its members' ability to work across party lines -- even on immigration.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated ambitious plans this week to cover drastically more residents, including undocumented immigrants who are not currently eligible for subsidized insurance.
Goodbye, elevator music!
Washington, D.C., is the latest school district to adopt the technology in an effort to improve emergency response times.
While state lawmakers have been locked in a stalemate on the issue, the city has implemented new rules and programs that have helped it achieve the lowest incarceration rate of any big U.S. city.
Lawyers in Philadelphia think so. They want the city, which is suffering from an eviction crisis, to spend more on helping people fight landlords in court.
A new study points to evidence that luring a large corporation isn’t the best way to spur job growth.
Small schools and high poverty schools are putting their students at the biggest disadvantage, according to a new report.
But the voter-approved measure still faces several major hurdles.
The constitutional amendment, allowing religious monuments in government buildings, will almost surely wind up in court.
Florida voters opted to automatically restore voting rights to former felons, affecting some 1.4 million residents. In Louisiana, voters instituted a five-year waiting period for felons to seek political office.
It was supported by many city and county officials but opposed by Gavin Newsom, the newly elected Democratic governor.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have made the position appointed.
Just ask New Haven, the home of Yale.
If Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti intervenes in the labor dispute, political observers say practically every potential outcome could hurt his future.
What do offshore drilling and vaping have to do with each other? Nothing, except that they appear together on one ballot question in Florida, which appears to be ground zero this year for legal battles over ballot language.
Several cities and transit agencies have been working with the TSA to test the security devices.
The online retail giant's new relationship with public schools and agencies raises concerns that the company is cornering the marketplace and costing taxpayers more money.
Charlotte, N.C., is using the sporting event as an opportunity to close the investment gaps between businesses owned by white women and people of color.
The Supreme Court's decision could weaken unions' collective bargaining power, which has historically benefited women of color more than most.
Cat Goughnour is pushing several cities to give community members more say in urban design.
Some promising signs suggest the city may be turning around its troubled school system. It offers lessons for other struggling districts.
The push to form new governments is heating up in places from Georgia to California.
There's a growing movement to eliminate the so-called tip credit for bartenders and servers. Washington, D.C., could be next to outlaw the practice.
San Francisco just elected its first black female mayor at a time when the number of big-city black mayors has been on the decline. Their leadership style has changed, too.
Libraries across the country are training their staff to administer the drug that can reverse an overdose.
The annual National League of Cities report reveals a shift in the way mayors talk, especially about infrastructure.
Austin Beutner, the new leader of Los Angeles schools, is the latest big-city superintendent with no education experience. Some say that -- and his ties to charter schools -- are cause for concern.
Land use experts question whether vacant property taxes are the right way to spur development.
Roanoke, Va., is betting big on beer.
Despite an urban real estate boom, the home-values gap for traditionally African-American neighborhoods is actually getting worse.
Fayetteville, N.C., earned the top honors in the annual Equipt to Innovate report, a joint study from Governing and the nonprofit Living Cities.
The justices will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in a case over the state's legislative and congressional maps, which have been accused of discriminating against black and Latino voters.
The Supreme Court required prosecutors to do this decades ago, but they don't always follow the rules. New York is the latest state to strengthen them.
Under the Trump administration, and most Republican White Houses, enforcement of the 1968 anti-discrimination law has weakened. Housing advocates say the constantly changing federal approach has held back progress.
Predictive technologies promise to let police fight crime before it happens. But do they work?
Baltimore's 911 system and a range of city services in Atlanta were hijacked in the past week.
A new study is the latest to show that landlords often discriminate against minorities and people who use rental vouchers.
New York City is betting that it can learn important lessons from the way the private sector runs. The bet is starting to pay off.
A new report ranks states' economic reliance on firearms, taking into account jobs, sales and political contributions.
The president doesn't want the federal government to help fund public radio and TV stations anymore. Such cuts could exacerbate the already sharp decline in coverage of state capitols and city halls.
As an African-American Democrat, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas isn't like a lot of other anti-drug advocates.
Of the cities studied, only in New Orleans did white students travel farther than their black peers.
Florida is closest to ending the clock-changing practice, but other states have flirted with the idea.
Republicans eliminated some of the tax benefits for owning a home. But experts aren't sure how much that will matter.
Emails, voicemails, texts, Facebook and Twitter have made it easier for residents to reach out to governments -- and harder for governments to respond.
More than 40 city leaders have joined a new exchange to share disaster relief expertise with their local counterparts on the island.
New studies suggest that school vouchers have minimal impact on college enrollment and even less of an effect on college graduation rates.
Barely one in 10 students scored proficient on recent state reading exams.
The Roca program has helped keep hundreds of youths out of jail in Massachusetts. Now officials want to transplant that success to one of the toughest crime cities in the nation.
The president's budget calls for a $1.1 billion investment in school choice.
Everyone agrees the state's education system isn't working. But no one can agree on how to fix it.
Homicide rates are at an all-time high in the city, and its police department has been mired in turmoil. The state is stepping in.
The number of children packed into overcrowded homes remains high and comes at a tremendous social cost.
Thanks to a generation of underfunding, many big-city school districts now face deteriorating buildings and billions of dollars in maintenance needs.
The recount on Thursday confirmed Keisha Lance Bottoms' lead, likely keeping the city's decades-long tradition of black mayors alive. But shifting demographics will change how people lead it.
The city is eliminating short-term jail sentences for low-level misdemeanors. Other cities will undoubtedly be watching the impact.
After four years in office, the New York mayor has a mixed reputation among liberals. But he seemingly has a chance to change that.
What started as a fringe movement has gained steam in recent years.
Nevada's recent politics suggest just how difficult it can be for states to enact gun control measures -- even when a majority of citizens favor them.
The Trump administration's latest reversal of Obama policing strategies instead puts an emphasis on tough-on-crime policies. But the shift will undermine efforts to rebuild relations between communities and police, say many law enforcement officials and experts.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, it hit one of the country's biggest gateways for refugees -- a population that has already had to rebuild their lives and will now struggle to do it again.
Houston is the nation's fourth largest city. While all urban areas present unique evacuation challenges, some are bigger than others.
New York City is taking an innovative approach that relies on street-level "violence interrupters" to curb crimes involving weapons. Chicago's been doing it for years.