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The Confederate Flag Has Cost South Carolina Millions in Tourism

June 25, 2015 What has it cost South Carolina to fly its Confederate battle flag? At a minimum: one college baseball tournament, two college football bowl games, and potentially scores of college basketball tournament games, plus the millions these sports events would rake in for South Carolina cities. Not to mention appearances by...

Every Single County in America Is Facing an Affordable Housing Crisis

June 19, 2015 From Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine. From Jacksonville to Juneau. No matter where you look, there isn’t enough affordable housing. Without exception, there is no county in the U.S. that has enough affordable housing. The crisis is national and it is growing. Since 2000, rents across the nation have increased....

What It Takes to Map Every Abandoned House in Cleveland

June 14, 2015 Scribbling on a map doesn’t change the territory. But walking around the territory, jotting notes on an iPad, may be the best way to change the map. That’s the idea in Cleveland, where the Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Initiative is undertaking an enormous survey of the city. Eight...

Why City Fees Keep Rising Instead of Taxes

June 4, 2015 Between 2007 and 2012, through the Great Recession and into the recovery, fees on everything from hospitals and airports to schools and social services increased by more than 7 percent. In tough times—in particular, tough times brought on by a national mortgage crisis—property taxes and other revenue sources declined. Now...

The Troubled Relationship Between Texas and FEMA

May 27, 2015 Over the past two weeks, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for 46 different counties. Two dozen counties made that list on Memorial Day, as extreme weather marked by tornadoes and flooding continued to sweep across the state. “I have, as governor, declared disaster declarations literally...

9 Things You Need to Know About the National Mall's Newest Museum

May 10, 2015 Ten years ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture had a staff of two. There was no site locked down for the building. No design attached to it. And no stuff to put in it. "We knew we were going to have to raise millions of dollars,...

Grading Baltimore's Mayor on Her Own Advice for Police

May 3, 2015 Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake couldn't have known in January that a citywide standoff between protesters and police was coming. But she was thinking about it. Back in the winter, she and several other mayors assembled to write a set of city guidelines for improving the relationship between police and the...

Cities Don't Need Smoking Bans to Be Smoke-Free

April 23, 2015 In the early hours of Wednesday, smokers pulled their last drags and stubbed out their last butts in bars in New Orleans. As of midnight, the city became the latest to adopt a policy prohibiting smoking in bars, restaurants, and casinos. As Willie Nelson once said: Turn out the lights,...

Why a Seattle Suburb Legally Defined What a 'Family' Is

April 7, 2015 In Bellevue, a satellite city outside Seattle, the City Council and Planning Commission have been working on a new housing policy for coming on two years now. It's a resolution that aims to solve a land-use issue facing a number of Bellevue neighborhoods. All the council had to do to...

Why Cities Should Pay People To Eat Their Veggies

April 6, 2015 All the talk about "food deserts" dried up years ago. It turns out that truly barren concrete wastelands are harder to find than people figured. More recently, the conversation's turned toward "food swamps": places where food sources are abundant, but most of it's junk. Focusing on food swamps and food...