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Deepnews Digest #71

What Happens to Cities?

Editor: Christopher Brennan
One of the lingering questions during coronavirus has been what a rapidly spreading communicable disease means for cities, those churning metropolises dense in people, ideas and energy. As some of the hardest hit places such as New York begin to reopen, this Digest explores issues of transportation, tourism, housing and health that will shape what cities look like in the years and decades to come. Gathered from around the world with the Deepnews Scoring Model.
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Published every Friday

The Globe and Mail ($)

In fighting climate change, an opportunity to create a vibrant network of neighbourhoods

Urban planner Andy Yan senses an opportunity for cities to consistently decrease greenhouse-gas emissions, intrigued by the pandemic’s impact on a wide range of employees who no longer have to commute to work.

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The Conversation

The housing boom propelled inequality, but a coronavirus housing bust will skyrocket it

A housing boom that lasted from the mid-1980s with only minor interruptions has added to rising income inequality in Australia. Yet an impending housing market bust, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting spike in unemployment, will not restore greater equality. On the contrary, recent history shows housing busts can worsen inequality.

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Texas Tribune

Grappling with budget shortfalls, Texas cities prepare for hard choices

Federal aid through the CARES act is helping, but it likely won’t be enough to fill the holes in cities’ budgets caused by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Editor’s Note:

The coronavirus pandemic has given cities important tasks in fighting disease and keeping people safe, though it is a question how they will get the resources to do so. Here Juan Pablo Garnham looks into the budget holes that cities are facing across the Lone Star State, and how federal aid does or does not help. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Irish Independent

Staycation nation: will home holidays save Irish tourism?

With foreign travel curtailed, the industry is relying on the domestic market, but will holidaymakers help to save thousands of jobs, asks Kim Bielenberg.

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Dhaka Tribune

Bicycle sales surge during lockdown

They are not only cheap alternatives to public transport, but they also allow their carriers to avoid crowds, such as those in a public buses, helping to maintain social distancing

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New York Times

Living on Free Land

Many families with the wherewithal to leave dense cities during the pandemic have headed to country homes to shelter in a bigger space. But a handful of families are in a position to do this to an even greater extreme, settling into remote places that they or their ancestors received through free land programs.

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Discourse Blog

All We Want Is a Space to Live

If you want to understand how this system works, I think it’s helpful to look at how different groups of people occupy physical space. Every city and town in America has some sort of “public space.” This space — be it a small park or the National Mall — is administered by the government and considered public, in the sense that the government is a representation of the people. But the theory that these spaces are “public” only really works if the government that administers them actually represents you.

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Deccan Herald

Don’t miss the bus

The road-based transport system in India accounts for 85% of the total transport demand. This is in terms of total passenger-kilometre travelled including by air as well as water transport systems.

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Coronavirus threatens an exodus of Tel Aviv’s young

Tel Aviv’s crowded beaches and cafes since the easing of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown might give the impression that the city that never sleeps is back. But appearances are deceiving: Tel Aviv is seeing an exodus of younger residents, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the trend.

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Editor’s Note:

Some cities define themselves in part by their vibrant nightlife. Here Gili Melnitcki looks into worries from local officials that coronavirus has exacerbated problems with cost of living that will send younger residents fleeing. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Vox EU

Rural hospital closures increase mortality

A quarter of all rural US hospitals, most of which are highly essential to their communities, are at high risk of closing. Closures of rural hospitals may increase transportation time and delay treatment. This column examines hospital closures in California from1995 to 2011 to assess the effects of rural and urban hospital closures on inpatient mortality. Mortality increases after a rural hospital closure not only in the local rural area but in the urban areas as well. Medicaid patients and racial minorities are relatively worse affected than the general population.

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3 Questions: Balakrishnan Rajagopal on recognizing homelessness as a human rights violation

Balakrishnan Rajagopal is an associate professor of law and development in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. He is the founder of MIT’s Displacement Research and Action Network (DRAN), which leads engagement and research with communities, non-governmental organizations, and local and national authorities.

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The Atlantic

The Real Threats to America’s Cities

Both persistent inequality and President Trump’s hostility put extraordinary pressure on them.

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Washington Post

Eric Garcetti grew up in Los Angeles. As mayor, he’s fighting the pandemic while reimagining the city’s legacy.

A voracious shark eating its way through an unsuspecting community is an apt metaphor for what the novel coronavirus has done to Los Angeles County, a loose affiliation of more than 80 often very different cities that comprise a metroplex of roughly 10 million people. In crisis, such as fires and earthquakes, mudslides and now pandemics, the power naturally accrues to the mayor of Los Angeles.

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Education Week

Managing Buses May Be the Hardest Part of Reopening Schools

Buses. Of all the complicated puzzles to solve for in how to reopen schools safely in the pandemic, transportation may be the most complex, district leaders say.

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American Dream Leaves Clan Behind Mall Empire Mired in Debt

Ghermezian family’s Triple Five Group has missed some payments

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Editor’s Note:

If we had done a Digest on urban versus suburban life last year, one of the articles might have been on problems with brick and mortar retail and empty malls. The long-awaited American Dream mall in New Jersey thought it had figured out how to make things work, though is now confronting a pandemic in addition to the major trends that preceded it. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

India Spend

From Financial Capital To COVID-19 Capital: What Went Wrong In Mumbai

Covid-19 centres are out of beds, the healthcare staff is inadequate and private clinics are overcharging.

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Life after COVID: Europeans want to keep their cities car-free

With the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic appearing to subside, Europe is giving its love to wide bike-friendly boulevards and café terraces instead of car-clogged streets.

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America’s Economy Can’t Thrive Without New York City

Everyone has seen the map by now. The one of the United States, overlaid with cases of Covid-19 or deaths because of it. Clearly, New York City is the epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for at least 21,000 of the more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths across the country.

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Salt Like Tribune

Spike in Utah evictions is coming, housing advocates say. Others aren’t so sure.

Housing advocates warn that a crisis looms for Utah’s renters.

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Associated Press

LA-area homelessness spike could get worse post-coronavirus

The number of homeless people counted across Los Angeles County jumped 12.7% over the past year to more than 66,400 and authorities fear that figure will spike again once the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic is felt, officials said Friday.

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Nikkei Asian Review

Expats flee Bali as virus crashes Asia’s top luxury villa market

DENPASAR — With a private pool, walled tropical gardens and a large terrace overlooking a lush green river valley in central Bali, Kadek Wisana’s three-bedroom villa usually goes for $100 a night.

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Editor’s Note:

Travel restrictions have made a particular type of city, the international travel hotspot, have to confront a different type of challenges. Here Ian Lloyd Neubauer and Lala Samsura look at what has become of those Instagram-ready symbols of luxury, the Bali resorts. – Christopher Brennan, Editor


How Eviction Moratoriums Are Hurting Small Landlords and Why That’s Bad for the Future of Affordable Housing

In the mid-1960s, Greta Arceneaux was a young mother of two in the midst of a divorce with a low-paying secretarial job and an old house in Los Angeles. Dreaming of a better life for her family, she took out a loan, tore down the aging home and used the land to build a five-unit rental complex that, she hoped, would serve both as a home for her and her children and a ticket to the middle-class.

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USA Today

When will libraries reopen after coronavirus? It might be months

Jazmine Adams-McNeal tried time and time again to explain to her young daughter why their weekly trips to the library stopped suddenly in March.

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Financial Times ($)

The future of cities

It’s possible that New York will reset to something more like Brooklyn than Manhattan.

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Inside A Wall Street Tycoon’s Plan To Get Americans Off The Highway — And On His Trains

As the world grapples with how to make travel safe in the age of coronavirus, private equity billionaire Wes Edens is betting $9 billion that America’s transportation future is passenger rail.

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