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Housing and Urban Issues

Stresses on urban communities continue to affect housing, food security, child services, homelessness, business development and crime. Coverage includes stories about new solutions to how cities are run, how they develop as urban centers and about the people who live there.

The Bay Area city had recently touted a 33 percent year-over-year decrease in crime. But a review of police data found that the city overstated the improvements and has been using incomplete information for years.
The nation suffers from a housing shortage of between 1.5 million and 5.5 million units. Renters occupy about 15.9 million single-family homes and corporate landlords own about 3 percent of them.
Nearly 40 percent of Mississippi’s population is Black and yet only 1 in 10 doctors across the state are Black. As a conservative push to ban diversity programs continues to gain strength, it’s unlikely that the state’s racial equity in health care will improve soon.
“YIGBY” is a hot trend, but there are better uses for some faith-based organizations’ surplus real estate.
Seventeen vehicles were set on fire in May. The city’s fleet of police cars may not be fully replenished due to supply chain delays and a narrow ordering window.
Struggling downtowns can embrace a new role as knowledge centers of a changed economy.
The Court found that there is no constitutional right to sleep outdoors or in cars. In dissent, liberal justices argued that sleep is a necessity that's effectively being criminalized.
Urban interstate highways displaced hundreds of thousands of households, destroyed neighborhoods and enforced racial segregation, and they continue to harm low-income communities. We need to ameliorate this tragic history.
There are strong models for combating youthful disillusionment. San Francisco’s Youth Commission should be replicated across the country and a White House Office of Young Americans could address issues that affect everyone.
A federal judge has ordered the state to release unrepresented defendants, with about 2,500 now out of custody as a result. The state is now hiring more attorneys rather than relying on contracts with private defenders.
The concept of having most needs met within walking distance remains beguiling as an urbanist vision, but it hasn’t gotten very far in the U.S.
North Texas settlements from the 19th century have been threatened for decades by urban development. A group of university professors and students are working to preserve what’s left.
Prices increased last year in 97 of the nation’s 100 largest markets. Home insurance costs are soaring and rent is increasingly unaffordable, contributing to growth in homelessness.
The City Council passed a bill requiring “proactive” inspections for high-risk buildings, following two devastating collapses last year.
The vast majority of calls are about distress, not violent crime. Dispatching social workers and other professionals rather than law enforcement can improve outcomes in many cases.
The City Council has approved a plan to move individuals now living along waterways to sites throughout the city over the coming year. The idea is encountering pushback from community members.
The state is jailing 54 percent more individuals for immigration violations than last year, moving it to fifth most active among states. Last month, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that mandates greater cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies.
Kentucky’s Republican-controlled Legislature is sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Louisville this year. Local leaders hope strong cross-partisan relationships will help the city over the long term.
Boston and Dallas have achieved success in bringing down murders and other violent crimes by deploying an array of promising programs and approaches.
This multipart investigation by St. Louis Public Radio, APM Reports and The Marshall Project explores how police in St. Louis — one of America’s deadliest cities — have struggled to solve killings, leaving thousands of family members without answers.
More than 200 children live on Skid Row, a majority of which stay in the only homeless shelter in the neighborhood that allows families. Advocates are urging the city to do more to help.
Local governments want to see empty and underused offices converted to housing, but that’s often difficult. An examination of office and housing markets reveals the specific cities where this approach is most promising.
Proposed legislation would allow for up to one-quarter of the state’s spending on homeless housing, assistance and prevention programs to go toward sober living environments. The bill would reverse a 2016 funding ban.
Lacey Beaty came into office as mayor of Beaverton, Ore., with less power than her predecessor. That hasn't stopped her from taking on the city's biggest issue.
There are powerful arguments against cities spending lots of money on professional sports. On the other hand, the prestige of having home teams carries some tangible benefits.
The movement to build tiny houses has gotten a lot of attention, but it hasn’t gained much traction in the market. Still, there may be some applications for homes of just a few hundred square feet.
Proposed legislation would allow homeless people displaying mental health issues to be taken to a behavioral center against their will for assessment.
The 3,150 square-foot home recently hit the market in Burton, Texas, for $760,000. The printing company, Hive3D, is working on other 3D-printed housing options, including short-term rental “casitas” in Round Top.
The numbers don’t seem to support the need for new state laws cracking down on illegal occupancy. There are better things policymakers could do to deal with the larger issues around housing.
A new report shows foot traffic in downtown Philadelphia has reached 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Office occupancy is still down, but local leaders say it’s time to think differently about the future of downtown.