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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 mortality rate for unhoused Americans more than tripled in 10 years. New data makes clear lives are at stake as California leaders try to combat the homelessness crisis. Why are so many people dying?
Intercity bus ridership is up and should return to pre-pandemic levels by 2026. Other trends, including the closure of Greyhound stations in big cities such as Philadelphia, are less positive.
State and local governments have an opportunity to fill a sizable gap by subsidizing the conversion of market-rate properties into affordable housing. While costly, it's still cheaper than building new.
Downtowns were all the rage for most of this century. There’s still a market for density, but many people want it to be carefully managed.
The statewide clearance rate for crimes was just 13.2 percent in 2022, according to a new report. The rate for poverty crimes was only 7.2 percent.
The city will sever its ties with the gunshot alert system after September. Mayor Brandon Johnson’s political supporters applauded the decision, but many officers are opposed.
Charleston exemplifies an infill strategy that produces attractive new houses and greater density, but comes up short on affordability.
The Georgists advocated shifting the tax burden from buildings to land. Today that would face major political hurdles, but there might be variations on the concept that could spur housing development and discourage land speculators.
“Housing-first” programs are expensive and ineffective. “Treatment-first” approaches are more successful at improving the well-being of homeless people by reducing drug use and increasing employment stability.
The county has hired a company to redact racially restrictive covenant language from millions of county records, dating back to 1850. It will take at least seven years to complete the process of reviewing 130 million documents.
The moniker may have been popularized in the last few years, but the concept has its roots in the 19th century, going back to the redevelopment of Paris, and in the “garden city” theory of the 1890s and early 1900s.
At least 19 states are directing money from Medicaid into housing aid and addressing the nation’s growing homelessness epidemic. Homelessness jumped last year to 12 percent nationally.
As the nation’s housing crisis continues, many cities are altering their policies for affordable housing developments. But some states are trying to rein in the incentives.
The city is scaling down its spending for sheltering immigrants to save money. But the move will force hundreds of people out of their temporary housing.
The home health-care industry is lucrative — but lightly regulated.
Do cameras on our porches, at traffic lights, in our parks and along our streets really contribute to our overall security? The data are unpersuasive.
Local officials are looking for ways to help boost the area’s population, which is largely stagnant. The city is hoping to change the nation’s perceptions of Cleveland by pursuing three new goals.
Proposed legislation in Hawaii would reshape the way short-term rentals are regulated and allow counties to phase them out completely over time. Currently, 5.5 percent of Hawaii’s housing units are short-term rentals.
In 2020, Black homeownership jumped to nearly 46 percent, the highest rate since 2010, and held close to that in 2021 and 2022. But as borrowing costs and home prices rise, it’s unlikely their gains will hold.
Urban downtowns are navigating a “doom loop” of office vacancy, retail decline and lower transit ridership. Things look both a bit different and somewhat similar in the suburbs.
Swatting — falsely reporting a serious emergency to provoke aggressive police response — is on the rise. Fighting this dangerous and distracting trend remains challenging, both legally and technologically.
Last year’s 17 percent decline in homicides and 10 percent drop in nonfatal shootings contributed to a decrease of about 3 percent in reported violent crime overall. However, both property crimes and auto thefts did increase.
There are 42 homeless shelters in Maine with a total of about 1,170 beds run by various nonprofits throughout the state.
In 2018, Minneapolis became the first major U.S. city to eliminate single-family zoning. But courts quickly blocked the city’s plan and returned the city to its single-family homes without environmental review.
The St. Vincent de Paul Shelter for Women and Families sheltered an average of 107 children per day in October, its highest daily average ever. In 2022, the shelter housed about 63 children per day in October.
It’s been a topic for decades. Some blame cars. Some blame uninviting public spaces. Maybe there are some small things communities could do that would help.
Nearly four years after the start of the pandemic, downtowns are still short of office workers and foot traffic. That's contributing to significant budget problems in some cities.
Merging cities with their suburbs is sometimes seen as inspired urbanism. But it doesn’t always benefit everyone.
The nation is undergoing a massive shift in terms of building its advanced manufacturing capacity. Here's how metros need to position themselves to take advantage.
The most expensive weather and climate disaster in 2023 was a drought and heat wave across the South and Midwest that cost $14.5 billion. But weather conditions that don’t cost billions, like extreme cold, still have major community impacts.
From 2019 to 2022, the region added more than 20,000 housing units per year, including nearly 3,800 affordable units built in 2022. But high interest rates last year have stunted that growth.