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Urban Issues and Policy

Though roughly two dozen cities have appointed food policy directors at the local level, an estimated 53.6 million people still live outside an easy walk or drive to a full-service supermarket.
Local government meetings may be open to all, but too often little attention is paid to them. Equipping everyday people to document what goes on is a way to make the most of these opportunities for civic participation.
The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009. In the absence of action from Congress and state legislatures, local governments are adding capacity to their programs to support workers.
Around the world, cities have hired “night mayors” to advocate for and grow the nightlife scene while ensuring safety. Nightlife advocates see an opportunity as the city tries to revitalize its downtown after the effects of COVID-19.
New York City’s newest mayor has made several key moves to speed up bus service and open lanes to more bicycles. But transit advocates are asking for bolder policies while reckless driving becomes a serious problem.
America’s third-largest city has a plenitude of problems. But it has great advantages as well.
During the pandemic, sparse crowds on transit systems gave way to uncivil behavior and crime. Today, debates are breaking out around the best policy to fix the problem while figuring out the role of law enforcement.
Neighborhood change is unsettling. Whose fault is that? Maybe nobody’s.
Highly detailed data around cycling and pedestrian activity has not always been easy to come by. Public officials and micromobility advocates stress the need for better data to make the case for more and better infrastructure.
Cities could offer to absorb 100 percent of the purchase and installation costs of micro-irrigation systems in exchange for a percentage of the water that farmers would save by making the switch.
Gentrification’s pressure on homeownership is threatening a rich history and culture while worsening the racial wealth gap. There are some steps governments should take to preserve as much of it as we can.
Corporate investment can be an economic boon to low-income communities. It can also be a cultural threat.
Cities have been struggling with the question for decades. Some are welcoming the murals and other street painting they used to deplore. Others call it vandalism and are erasing it.
Efforts like reducing carbon emissions are important to fight climate change, but cities should also be looking at how they can reinforce roads, stabilize electric grids and use new technologies to build resilient communities.
The street vendors who sell food to downtown customers are a boon to urban life. Cities ought to have more of them.
Starting in the 1990s, many cities have come back, growing in population while reducing sky-high rates of crime. A. K. Sandoval-Strausz talks about the overlooked impact of Latino immigrants on their rebirth.