Survivors of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Liberia had a higher prevalence of certain health issues — including uveitis (eye redness and pain), abdominal, chest, neurologic, and musculoskeletal abnormalities upon physical exam — when compared to a control group of household and community members without a history of EVD, according to findings from an ongoing study. However, even participants in the control group experienced a relatively high burden of health issues overall.
Fasting-mimicking diet holds promise for treating people with inflammatory bowel disease, a new study finds. A clinical trial shows reduction of inflammation in humans and in mice, the diet appears to reverse Crohn’s and colitis pathology.
Scientists have developed a method to boost the efficiency of CRISPR gene editing in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), according to a study that could have implications for optimizing gene therapies for other diseases.
Two large national studies show that patient safety was unaffected and residents showed no signs of chronic sleep loss regardless of shift length.
To chart the forces of urban inequality, mapmakers will usually look to neighborhood tracts. ThatÃ¢â‚¬s where the best data tends to be available about things like racial clustering, housing prices, commute times, and other indicators of divisions.
But what happens when you zoom closer? Inside shops, restaurants, bars, schools, and other hubs, communities that look diverse from the outside can turn out to be pretty homogenous. A new mapping project from researchers at MITÃ¢â‚¬s Media Lab and SpainÃ¢â‚¬s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid draws on novel types of data to show how thatÃ¢â‚¬s true across greater Boston. There, as in other cities, the daily routines of individuals across the economic spectrum lead to Ã¢â‚¬Å“micro-segregationÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ at the address levelÃ¢â‚¬â€�i.e., where people actually spend time and money.
For example, two restaurants around gentrifying ChinatownÃ¢â‚¬â€�Amateras, a ramen joint, and a Chinese spot called Happy Dim SumÃ¢â‚¬â€�are only a few blocks from one another, and neither is very pricey. But in terms of the income distribution of its clientele, theyÃ¢â‚¬re distinct: Amateras draws a fairly well-heeled base of customers, with most coming from communities where median incomes are between $90,000 and $114,000 a year. Happy Dim Sum is dominated by customers who live in neighborhoods where median incomes are less than $67,000 a year, which is how they define the bottom economic quartile.
Another block away is another dim sum restaurant called Hei La Moon, which attracts a set of diners much more representative of the Boston areaÃ¢â‚¬s economic diversity.
The mapmakers profiled the patrons of these spots by coupling census income data with anonymized mobility traces of 150,000 Boston area residents, which was scraped off their phones by a location intelligence analytics firm.
But the project is imperfect. For one thing, it doesnÃ¢â‚¬t include the movement patterns of very poor individuals, such as the homeless, Ã¢â‚¬Å“who bear the brunt of segregation,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ my CityLab colleague Tanvi Misra points out in her article about the map. But it is a notable example of how location dataÃ¢â‚¬â€�the same stuff that your apps are constantly and creepily gathering about your whereaboutsÃ¢â‚¬â€�can be used to illuminate important social dynamics. For example, if you believe that diversity is a benefit of urban life, this map might move you to reconsider your daily routines.
Write me: This project made me curious. What are the best maps youÃ¢â‚¬ve seen that try to represent urban gentrification and change? Think location data could help?
Where PokÃƒÂ©mon go, should players follow?
Two weeks ago, I asked MapLab readers who should be held responsible when people playing with location-based apps like PokÃƒÂ©mon Go unwittingly stumble into private properties or otherwise unwelcome places. If a fence is broken or worse, should gamers be considered liable? Or should it be the software maker effectively playing Pied Piper?
Some readers saw the question as straightforward. Catherine Tanaka wrote that players ought to take responsibilityÃ¢â‚¬â€�Ã¢â‚¬Å“If they sneak away and refuse to reveal their fault, thatÃ¢â‚¬s the same as hit and runÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½Ã¢â‚¬â€�while Lora Tenenbaum felt Ã¢â‚¬Å“the vast weight of it should be on the developers.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
Other responses added new dimension to the issue. Taylor Holden pointed out that while an early wave of mass adopters of PokÃƒÂ©mon Go led to a lot of bad behavior, more dedicated, longtime players have since developed norms Ã¢â‚¬Å“to discourage people from … mobbing public spaces without regard for others.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ And Amy Duquesnoy, a GIS analyst for the city of Concord, New Hampshire, wrote that regardless of blame, users need to be wary for their own good:
It goes back to when GPSÃ¢â‚¬s were first being used in cars and people were following the GPS into lakes and off roads Ã¢â‚¬â€œ why would anyone follow the GPS when clearly it was wrong?? Anyone who was paying attention would realize the road ended and they must seek an alternate route. This is the same situation. Be aware, look up from your device, and just be a good human being.
Tracking fracking: a customizable database of every permitted natural gas well in West Virginia that your eyeballs will appreciate. (ProPublica) Ã¢Â¦ An odyssey of the Odyssey: Charting the history of HomerÃ¢â‚¬s epic, in maps. (LaphamÃ¢â‚¬s Quarterly) Ã¢Â¦ End of a beginning: geotagged Tweets arenÃ¢â‚¬t making for great maps anymore. (Forbes) Ã¢Â¦ Speaking of opportunities to accidentally trespass, one reporter got to test out Google MapsÃ¢â‚¬ new augmented-reality navigation assistant. (Wall Street Journal)
Go ahead, scour the earth for non-MapLab newsletter subscribers. Then sign them up here. See you next time.
The term Green New Deal might remind Americans of high-school history class. What was the original New Deal about, again? Most kids are taught that it was a decidedly left-wing project to end the Great Depression, a series of big-spending government programs such as the Public Works Administration, with its schools and stadiums. That impression colors the debate over the DemocratsÃ¢â‚¬ important new proposal: Conservatives warn of catastrophic federal debts while liberals insist that top-down investment was and is crucial to managing disaster.
But the high-school narrative is not quite right. It leaves out the parts of the New Deal that encouraged private investment.
At the center of this other New Deal was the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), an independent agency within the federal government that set up lending systems to channel private capital into publicly desirable investments. It innovated new systems of insurance to guarantee those loans, and delivered profits to businesses in peril during the Depression. Unionists, farmers, and consumers benefitted as well, all without the government needing to spend a dime of taxpayer money.
The story about the New Deal we have in our headsÃ¢â‚¬â€�that it was tax-and-spend liberalism at its worst (if you are conservative) or best (if you are liberal)Ã¢â‚¬â€�may obscure policy opportunities today. We can spend taxpayer money to address climate change, and we probably should, but that is not the only option. If we are going to fund a Green New Deal, we need to acknowledge how the original New Deal actually worked.
After the stock-market crash of 1929 and the mortgage crisis of 1932, bankersÃ¢â‚¬ capital sat idle. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our excess reserves are very big,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ James Perkins, the head of National City Bank wrote to his colleague Amadeo Giannini, the head of Bank of America in 1934, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“it is almost impossible to find any use for money in credits that we are willing to take, and the rates are terribly low.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ PerkinsÃ¢â‚¬s situation was not unusual. According to Perkins, excess reserves across the country totaled more than $1 billion (in 1934 dollars). The countryÃ¢â‚¬s banks and corporate coffers overflowed with capital that financiers felt unable to invest profitably. Without an outlet for those funds, even the still solvent banks would fall apart eventuallyÃ¢â‚¬â€�and so would the country. Capitalism depends on the investment and reinvestment of capital.
President Franklin D. RooseveltÃ¢â‚¬s genius was that he knew he had to get capitalism moving again. But the man who actually figured out how to do that was, ironically, inherited from the Hoover administration: Jesse Jones.
Under Hoover, Jones was appointed to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which was tasked with recapitalizing regional banks. Like the other men on HooverÃ¢â‚¬s RFC, Jones was a bankerÃ¢â‚¬â€�he was president of the Texas Commerce Bank systemÃ¢â‚¬â€�but he was also a prominent real-estate developer and an original investor in the company that became Exxon. When FDR came to power, he promoted Jones, who had been a Democrat since the heady populist days of William Jennings Bryan, to the head of the RFC. Jones understood well the need to take risks, and how risk-averse the world of finance had become during the Depression; his basic mission was to restore safe, long-term investment opportunities.
Jones focused first on housing. He appointed James Moffett, a vice president of Standard Oil of New Jersey, as head of the Federal Housing Administration. With the assistance of National City Bank employees Ã¢â‚¬Å“loanedÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ to the FHA, Moffett and others designed mechanisms to channel the money sitting in banks back into the world in the form of mortgages. Their key innovation was to have lenders chip into an insurance pool, organized by the federal government. If a borrower defaulted on a mortgage, the lender would be paid out of the pool in low-yielding bonds. The lender would not lose the principal of the mortgage, but neither would the lender have an incentive to do business with the obviously uncreditworthy.
The FHA-administered insurance pool made mortgages safe for banks again. Moffett correctly predicted, as he issued the first FHA guidelines, that Ã¢â‚¬Å“an investor in New York City or Chicago will be able to advance money on a home in Texas or California Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ with a sense of security quite as great as would be the case if the property were in the next block.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ The loans started smallÃ¢â‚¬â€�home-modernization loans of only a few hundred dollarsÃ¢â‚¬â€�but within a year, the FHA insurance program was backing loans on houses across the country. In a few months, FHA programs lent more money than the Public Works Administration spent during the entire decade, and put some 750,000 people back to work.
The FHA, as I have previously written, preserved private enterprise while accomplishing a public good. No lender had to comply with the FHA, but if he did, his business was easier to conduct. Risk-free loans with guaranteed buyers provided a strongÃ¢â‚¬â€�yet noncoerciveÃ¢â‚¬â€�incentive to lend private capital. The government issued no loans and paid for no insurance, while creating new markets for lenders.
Following on the success of the FHA, in 1935 Jones created the Rural Electrification Administration as a subsidiary of the RFC. Jones asked Morris Cooke, an engineer and consultant and the head of PhiladelphiaÃ¢â‚¬s public works, to be its founding leader. Cooke was skeptical of the motives of business owners who held Ã¢â‚¬Å“a belief in the absolutism of private property.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ The financially driven Ã¢â‚¬Å“holding companiesÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ that controlled Ã¢â‚¬Å“76 per cent of the two billions of capital invested in electric light and power companiesÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ were more concerned with maximizing profit than the needs of the people. Cooke was not opposed to profitÃ¢â‚¬â€�as long as it did not stand in the way of progress.
The stumbling point for rural electrification had always been the perceived expense. No utility would string all those lines for just a few customers. All that empty space would eat up the profits. Private utilities estimated that rural electrification would cost $1,350 a mile. Cooke, unlike most Washington politicians, had spent his life reducing costs, even when supposed experts told him it wasnÃ¢â‚¬t possible. He figured the real costs were much lower, and as it turned out, Cooke was rightÃ¢â‚¬â€�the actual cost per mile was only $850.
Getting to that lower number took some imagination. Private utilities would not bear the expense of rural electrification, so Cooke had to look elsewhere. He didnÃ¢â‚¬t believe, as did WPA head Harold Ickes, that capitalism had failedÃ¢â‚¬â€�in his view only the utility companies had. Having the government build the lines was the position of Ã¢â‚¬Å“extremists,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ and he was no Communist.
Cooke found a middle path between big corporations and big government in the form of rural cooperatives. While urban cooperatives in industrial America had fitful starts, rural cooperatives had been a big deal since the late 19th century. They pulled together agricultural crops, branded them (think Sunkist), and then sold them around the world.
Under Cooke, the REA offered new cooperatives 20-year loans, at an interest rate of 2.88 percentÃ¢â‚¬â€�a number set to the governmentÃ¢â‚¬s cost of borrowing through the RFC. The REA accepted applications from proposed cooperatives and examined the proposals for Ã¢â‚¬Å“economic and engineering feasibility.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ It did not manage the actual work. It just provided the capital and the technical support, empowering Americans to get together and take control of their local economy. The REA also made five-year loans available Ã¢â‚¬Å“to finance the wiring of the farmsteads and the installation of plumbing systems.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
Later on, these cooperatives were denounced as Ã¢â‚¬Å“communistÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ by utilities, but they were anything but. Their work made possible the modernization of the American farm and farmhouse, which in turn made it possible for rural America to buy electrical goods from private companies. They also returned a modest profit to the RFC.
WhatÃ¢â‚¬s more, once the REA demonstrated that rural America could be cheaply electrified, other entrepreneurs took notice. Rather than Ã¢â‚¬Å“crowding outÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ private initiative, government provided an example that worked. Most small businesses, then and now, are imitative rather than innovative. That is fine. Small business can replicate best practices rapidly through the economy, which is exactly what happened in rural America. Installment lenders stepped in to provide new services, and even the electrical utility companies began to string lines out into the country.
As late as 1935, 90 percent of rural homes had no electricity. By 1940, 40 percent of rural America had electricityÃ¢â‚¬â€�a rise of 30 percent in only a few years. Ten years later, in 1950, 90 percent had electricity.
Housing filled a social need, and rural electrification enabled country folk to buy electrical goods. But to really get the economy on a sounder footing, New Dealers would have to encourage investment in new industries, an imperative that dovetailed with the need to prepare for war with the Nazis.
While it is now conventional wisdom that World War II ended the Depression, amateur historians rarely consider the contrary example of World War I, which brought not prosperity but ruin. The aftermath of World War I was recession everywhere, and in rural America, the recession began in 1920 and did not end until after World War II. The disparity lies in the fact that, in World War I, firms invested their own capital to expand weaponry production, only to confront the collapse of demand a year and a half later with the armistice. Manufacturers were left with overflowing inventory and a demilitarized America.
In the run-up to World War II, private companies were not going to get suckered again. And banks couldnÃ¢â‚¬t stomach investing the money necessary for war. The government, for its part, did not want to spend billions of dollars on state-owned weapons factories, which smacked of the fascism they sought to fight. Besides, they needed those billions to buy the guns and pay the soldiers.
Somehow, however, the country had to prepare itself, and to develop advances in aerospace in particularÃ¢â‚¬â€�still a new sector but of increasingly obvious utility for the war effort. So the RFC did for planes and other instruments of war what it had done for houses and electrification: It created channels for capital investment through the Defense Plant Corporation (DPC).
Like Jones, the people behind the DPC were not ideologues but practical men and women from both management and labor. William Knudsen, the president of General Motors, who had helped organize the first Ford production line, was there. The president of a major railroad, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Ralph Budd was on the committee too, as well as a vice-president of Sears, Roebuck. Labor was represented by none other than Sidney Hillman, the famous unionist who helped draft the National Labor Relations Act. The DPC even had lifelong activist reformers, including Leon Henderson and Harriet Elliot. It was a committee that reflected an alliance of interests between labor, capital, and the state.
These men, and one woman, positioned the DPC as an intermediary between investors and borrowers, providing capital for planes and munitions in two ways: the first as a lender, and the second through tax benefits. The loans originated with the RFC, which shunted the money through the DPC to the manufacturers. In some cases, the government nominally owned the plants, but private companies got the profits, managed the facilities, and, after the war, bought the plants. The tax benefits came in the form of accelerated depreciation schedules for war-time plant investment. Firms could normally deduct depreciationÃ¢â‚¬â€�the loss of value in equipmentÃ¢â‚¬â€�from their taxable incomes, but only over a long period of time, usually 20 years. The DPC lobbied for five-year depreciation timelines, so that firms could quickly write off the entire cost of their investments. Over the course of the war, this dual system directed $25 billion into manufacturing.
Nothing had ever been attempted on this scale beforeÃ¢â‚¬â€�or succeeded so well. While the FHA and REA were crucial for the economy, the DPC channeled the equivalent investment of 25 percent of the entire GDP in 1940. DPC financing added the equivalent of half of the entire prewar manufacturing capacity to the country by the end of the war.
DPC financing reoriented the entire economy. Aerospace, which absorbed three-fifths of all DPC loans, went from making a few thousand planes in 1939 to nearly 100,000 planes by 1944. By 1943, 40 percent of the Los Angeles workforceÃ¢â‚¬â€�about 2.1 million peopleÃ¢â‚¬â€�worked for an aircraft company. Curtiss-Wright grew from a small firm to being second only to General Motors in size. In the postwar period, aerospace became one of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬s largest industries, and it attained that size through DPC financing.
During World War II, the GDP, in real terms, doubled. After the war ended, it continued to grow at a breakneck speed, because wartime investments paid off.
Under Jones, the RFC worked across economic scales, from local construction contractors to giant corporations. It did not try to fulfill a particular utopian vision of how the economy Ã¢â‚¬Å“ought to beÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ but worked within the system to fix the system. It relied not on abstract economic ideas like socialism or capitalism, but on practical business methods. And it worked. There was no single magic bullet, but a portfolio of opportunities.
Under Jones, the RFC did not ask Congress for money. It could borrow billions from capital markets or banks. And borrow it did. But with Jones at the helm, overall, it made money. The RFC developed different projects that turned cutting-edge technology into self-sustaining commercial enterprises. Nervous businessmen said it couldnÃ¢â‚¬t be done. JonesÃ¢â‚¬â€�and the rest of the RFC agenciesÃ¢â‚¬â€�did it anyway.
These financial lessons of the New Deal have been largely forgotten, overwritten by the story of Ã¢â‚¬Å“big government spendingÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½Ã¢â‚¬â€�celebrated by the left and denounced by the right. Yet theyÃ¢â‚¬re worth dredging up. They provide many examples of how to harness private capital for public good, and help promote free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation.
The government can spend taxpayer money on the Green New Deal (and it should), but direct spending is not the only option, and if the New Deal is a good guide, not even the most important option. Government power lies not just in spending, but in helping businesses overcome risk-aversion and finance new opportunities for growth. As we imagine policies to fight climate changeÃ¢â‚¬â€�certainly as crucial as fighting World War IIÃ¢â‚¬â€�letÃ¢â‚¬s remember how the New Deal really worked, so that we can do it again.
This article originally appeared in The Atlantic.
A Colorado mother is warning about the dangers popcorn can pose to young children after her 2-year-old developed pneumonia, and had to have pieces of the snack pulled out from his lungs.
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What WeÃ¢â‚¬re Following
A-okay: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez caught some flak this weekend after a New York Post article detailed her transportation choices, which include a fair amount of rental cars and ride-hailing services while promoting the Green New Deal. Seemingly only in New York do people yell at politicians for not riding transitÃ¢â‚¬â€�itÃ¢â‚¬s a charge levied against Mayor Bill de Blasio on the regular, too. And itÃ¢â‚¬s true that both officials might benefit from sharing in what their constituents deal with day to day on the MTA.
But thereÃ¢â‚¬s another reason why AOC should be taking the bus or the train: ItÃ¢â‚¬d be a good publicity stunt for her, as it is for all local leaders. In a country where less than 5 percent of Americans take public transit, thereÃ¢â‚¬s a nationwide hypocrisy to fix, CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Laura Bliss writes:
Like eating, doing yard work, or going to the supermarket, getting around is just about the most normal-looking and thus relatable thing political figures can appear to do. In a county thatÃ¢â‚¬s long elected presidents based on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“beer test,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ such moments of down-to-earthiness are occasions to connect with voters and constituents.
Read LauraÃ¢â‚¬s story: Yes, ItÃ¢â‚¬s A Stunt. But Politicians Should Ride Transit Anyway
Pittsburgh readers: Join us for an event next Wednesday on Ã¢â‚¬Å“What It Means to Be Protected in Urban Spaces.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Brentin Mock will interview writer Kiese Laymon about his recent memoir, Heavy, followed by a panel moderated by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. Details and tickets here.
More on CityLab
Japanese architect Arata Isozaki is this yearÃ¢â‚¬s winner of the Pritzker Architecture PrizeÃ¢â‚¬â€�the fieldÃ¢â‚¬s top honor. The 87-year-old architect was a teenager when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, an event that had a profound effect on him. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ he said. His career began with the postwar rebuilding of Japan, before breaking out as an international figure in the 1980s and early Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ90s. Over six decades, Isozaki has demonstrated uncommon versatility, and, CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Amanda Kolson Hurley writes, Ã¢â‚¬Å“IsozakiÃ¢â‚¬s architecture is impossible to boil down to a signature style.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
What WeÃ¢â‚¬re Reading
ICE has kept tabs on Ã¢â‚¬Å“anti-TrumpÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ protesters in New York City (The Nation)
Prosecutors donÃ¢â‚¬t plan to charge Uber in self-driving car crash (New York Times)
Dallas DOT just completed its first year as a transit agency (Next City)
Self-driving cars may be likelier to hit black people than white people (Vox)
From video game to day job: How Ã¢â‚¬Å“SimCityÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ inspired a generation of city planners (Los Angeles Times)
A diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease.
Health officials at Temple University have recorded 16 confirmed cases of mumps, a highly infectious disease that causes symptoms similar to the flu.
A billionaire diamond trader has died during a penis enlargement operation at a posh Parisian clinic, reports say.
When I lived in my old D.C. neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, it was at that particular stage of gentrification where it seemed truly diverse. Taquerias and pupuserias stood right alongside indie theaters and grungy dive bars; the sidewalks were a multicultural mix of young, mostly white professionals and working-class people of color. But if you looked closer, youÃ¢â‚¬d notice what some experts call Ã¢â‚¬Å“micro-level segregation.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ People from different economic and racial backgrounds didnÃ¢â‚¬t frequent the same bars, restaurants, and stores. Latinx residents seemed to hang out at MarlenyÃ¢â‚¬s, whereas more affluent newcomers would be seen at Marx CafÃƒÂ©Ã¢â‚¬â€�right next door.
In a new map, MIT Media Lab visualizes that kind of micro-level segregation in the Boston metro region to show that Ã¢â‚¬Å“economic inequality isn’t just limited to neighborhoods,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ as the researchers write on the website. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬s part of the places you visit every day.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ The map, which the MIT team hopes to expand to the 11 largest U.S. cities, is a part of ongoing research into how individual decisions and opportunities shape real-word urban issues so that Ã¢â‚¬Å“we can act and intervene in human behavior,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ said Esteban Moro, the principal investigator at MIT Media Lab and an associate professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
To create the map, Moro and his colleagues compiled aggregate location data collected by CuebiqÃ¢â‚¬s Data for Good initiative, harvested from digital devices (like cell phones and tablets) of 150,000 anonymous sources between 2016 and 2017. Based on the median income of the census block where each anonymous user spent the most time, the researchers assigned them to one of four income brackets. They also obtained a list of 30,000 placesÃ¢â‚¬â€�including restaurants, bus stations, museums, offices, and coffee shopsÃ¢â‚¬â€�that these users frequented most often. For each place (represented as one dot on the map), they were able to determine its share of visitors from each income category.
Based on that distribution, they placed each place on an inequality index (displayed on the top left corner): The most unequal places (in red) were those where only one type of income group visited in the time period; the most equal (in blue) were those where all four income groups had similar sharesÃ¢â‚¬â€�meaning that people of diverse economic backgrounds spent time there at roughly at the same rate.
The resulting map looks a lot like a view of Boston from an airliner on final approach over the city. But the multicolored points of light are actually schools, businesses, and other meeting places.
The resulting Ã¢â‚¬Å“Atlas of InequalityÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ reveals a taxonomy of places in the city that tend to be more diverse and those that tend to be more economically homogenous. Among the most equal places, Moro and his colleagues found, are museums and airports. Schools, on the other hand, are among the least.
WhatÃ¢â‚¬s striking, although perhaps not entirely surprising, is that two places can be just meters apart and have a completely different economic profile of visitors. Where we get coffee, where we buy groceries, and where we grab take-out often reflect our choices, which determine the kinds of people we interact with every day. Or, these habits reflect our constraintsÃ¢â‚¬â€�and show what places are accessible and welcoming to certain groups of people.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Right now the way we understand segregation is at the census tract level,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Moro said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But our decisions that are impacting segregation happen actually at much smaller levelÃ¢â‚¬â€�within 25 meters.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
HereÃ¢â‚¬s an example from Boston of two coffee shops (whose names have been anonymized by the researchers to protect the businesses) just across the street from each other, one of which is much more diverse than the other:
The map and accompanying research, of course, have limitations. While Moro and his colleagues made sure that the sample of anonymous users they analyzed was as representative of the general population as it could be, it does nevertheless leave out people at the lower extreme of the income spectrumÃ¢â‚¬â€�people who are homeless, for exampleÃ¢â‚¬â€�who bear the brunt of segregation. The researchers also acknowledge that the list of places they feature is not comprehensive.
Nevertheless, the atlas offers a very unique and highly detailed close-up of how racial and economic segregation manifests in the cityÃ¢â‚¬â€�and how we may have internalized its effects. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Maybe segregation is not just about where you live,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ said Moro, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but what you do.”
Alexandria Ocasio-CortezÃ¢â‚¬ transportation choices are rightly getting attention.
The freshman congresswoman from Queens was called out by the New York Post over the weekend for Ã¢â‚¬Å“tripping over her own giant carbon footprint.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ The Post detailed her use of rental cars and ride-hailing services while promoting the Green New Deal, her much-discussed package of environmental reforms. The piece also reviews her congressional campaignÃ¢â‚¬s spending on transportation and finds nearly $30,000 spent on vehicle trips, Ã¢â‚¬Å“even though her Queens HQ was a one-minute walk to the 7 train.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
The story triggered a good old-fashioned Twitter pile-on, with observers on both the left and right dinging Ocasio-Cortez for eco-hypocrisy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“AOC’s staffers are presumably taking so many Ubers for the same reason everyone else does: unless youÃ¢â‚¬re in a very dense, very congested urban core, itÃ¢â‚¬s way more convenient than transit,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ tweeted Megan McArdle, the libertarian-leaning columnist for the Washington Post. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is, in fact, worth noting that while AOC is preaching that the world is shortly going to end, her staffers are prioritizing personal convenience over environmental benefit.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It would be better if AOC was taking the subway especially since she reps NYC,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ chimed in Streetsblog journalist Angie Schmitt.
Gawking at high-profile politicians riding public transportation is an old American spectator sport. People tend to notice it when it happensÃ¢â‚¬â€�when former Mayor Michael Nutter rides SEPTA to the Phillies game, or President Obama tours the new Minneapolis light rail line, or Beto OÃ¢â‚¬Rourke pedals around El Paso on his Surly. (OK, bicycling stretches the limits of Ã¢â‚¬Å“transit,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ but you catch the drift.) Joining the straphangers is a classic man-of-the-people move: Like eating, doing yard work, or going to the supermarket, getting around is just about the most normal-looking and thus relatable thing political figures can appear to do. In a county thatÃ¢â‚¬s long elected presidents based on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“beer test,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ such moments of down-to-earthiness are occasions to connect with voters and constituents.
But in a country where less than 5 percent of Americans take public transportation to work, such stunts may be of diminishing political utility. Especially because, like Cynthia NixonÃ¢â‚¬s weird-bagel-order scandal or disturbing revelations about what John Kasich does to pizza, theyÃ¢â‚¬re also opportunities to mess up. When Hillary Clinton fumbled with a stubborn MetroCard on the New York subway during the 2016 campaign, it served as an unwelcome reminder of just how long sheÃ¢â‚¬d been ferried around in black cars.
But seemingly only in New York City do people yell when politicians screw up by riding transit and by not riding transit. Mayor Bill de Blasio, frequently harangued for taking his limo his favorite Park Slope gym from Gracie Mansion on the regular, seems to be stunningly oblivious about the experience of riding the subway in 2019. After riding and talking to passengers a bit last week, Ã¢â‚¬Å“what I gleaned is people really depend on their subways,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ the mayor said at a news conference afterwards, as if heÃ¢â‚¬d seen none of the countless headlines screaming about the systemÃ¢â‚¬s increasingly dire state during his term.
In New York City, where a majority of residents use the scoliotic MTA to get to work, being a leader of the people means following those commute-paths, at least some of the time. But for Ocasio-Cortez, there is a nation-sized bone of hypocrisy to pick. The Green New Deal policy resolution she has drafted alongside other Democratic lawmakers calls for a vast remake of the U.S. economy, in large part through a massive build of alternatives to fossil-fuel-burning transportation modes, including high-speed rail, electric cars, and lots of public transit. If sheÃ¢â‚¬s opting not to ride in the best-connected transit city in the U.S., critics say, how can people trust her to lead national transportation policy? Tucked into that criticism is, perhaps, a legitimate fear: What hope is there for rest of the country to move towards a greener future if even she would rather take a car?
A few things here are true. One is that many of those Twitter wags are right: AOC should take the subway as much as she can. Setting aside the hoary PR benefits, there is no better way to maintain a grasp on the needs of her Queens constituents who heavily rely on transit than to continue to take transit. Likewise, Bill de Blasio should weather the MTAÃ¢â‚¬s inconveniences and frustrations from time to time.
So should all local leaders, in every city, even if transitÃ¢â‚¬s mode share is tiny. Look at Toledo, Ohio, where only 2.5 percent of commuters ride to work. Since Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz took office in 2018 heÃ¢â‚¬s been making a once-weekly bus trip to city hall. ItÃ¢â‚¬s half a political stunt, and half a genuine attempt to grapple with his cityÃ¢â‚¬s mobility needs, he told Streetsblog: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is a big deal for the future of our city that we get public transportation right. I am doing this to lead by exampleÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ IÃ¢â‚¬m not saying me taking the bus to work once a week is going to solve all our problems.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ It wonÃ¢â‚¬t, but if Kapszukiewicz gets a sense of which routes never show up on time, thereÃ¢â‚¬s a decent chance itÃ¢â‚¬ll make life a little easier for Toledoans who are all too familiar and, maybe, keep that many more cars off the road.
No doubt, the stakes are different for a celebrity-status politician like AOC, who has been the target of stalker-grade attention from the conservative media since arriving in D.C.: If she took the train, sheÃ¢â‚¬d draw a swarm of fans, critics, and cameras, making her and everyone elseÃ¢â‚¬s journey aboard already-crowded trains that much more cramped and arduous. The security issues are considerable. And yes, if AOC took the subway on occasion, sheÃ¢â‚¬d be guaranteed to miss a few important meetings. But that might make her all the more driven to improve transportation for the rest of New York. And her fame is less of an excuse for transit-avoidance among her staffers.
But, in any event, AOCÃ¢â‚¬s ability to keep step with Queens is a separate issue from her qualifications to fight for the environment on a national, even global stage. In that context, if her every MTA swipe (or lack thereof) is interpreted as a brick in the ethical foundation for her climate advocacy, AOC will failÃ¢â‚¬â€�because everyone who aspires to live by an environmental ethic 100% of the time fails, too.
To transform society, after all, you still have to live in it: consume food that has traveled hundreds of miles, use technology that has huge environmental footprints, and travel aboard a vast network of fossil-fuel-burning vehicles and aircraft when walking or transit isnÃ¢â‚¬t an option.Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hypocrisy is the gap between your aspirations and your actions,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian in 2008. But the alternative is cynicism, he explained, not moral purity, because removing oneself from industrialized society would mean disengaging from the fight for planetary survival.
As an elected official, AOC should try to stand on a higher moral ground than the people she represents. But to serve those constituentsÃ¢â‚¬â€�at home and abroadÃ¢â‚¬â€�she should ride the modes that best serve her fight.
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Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has won the 2019 Pritzker Architecture PrizeÃ¢â‚¬â€�the fieldÃ¢â‚¬s top honor.Ã‚Â Considered Ã¢â‚¬Å“the Nobel of architecture,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ the Pritzker Prize is bestowed annually by ChicagoÃ¢â‚¬s Pritzker family through its Hyatt Foundation. The eight-person jury was chaired this year by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
In its citation, the jury wrote of 87-year-old Isozaki: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Possessing a profound knowledge of architectural history and theory, and embracing the avant-garde, he never merely replicated the status quo but challenged it. And in his search for meaningful architecture, he created buildings of great quality that to this day defy categorizations, reflect his constant evolution, and are always fresh in their approach.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
This is the fourth year out of the past 10 in which an architect or architects from Japan have carried off the $100,000 award, continuing a recent trend away from giving the prize to a European or American Ã¢â‚¬Å“starchitect.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
Arata Isozaki was born in Ã…Å’ita, on the island of Kyushu, in 1931; he was a teenager when the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed. Ã¢â‚¬Å“My first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ he said. He studied architecture at the University of Tokyo and apprenticed under famed architect Kenzo Tange (winner of the Pritzker in 1987).
Isozaki broke out as an international figure in the 1980s and early Ã¢â‚¬90s, designing the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1987); the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, for the 1992 Summer Olympics; and the Team Disney Orlando building in Florida (1991).
More recent works by Isozaki include the Ceramic Park Mino in Gifu, Japan; Shenzhen Cultural Center; the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha; Shanghai Symphony Hall; and Allianz Tower in Milan.
IsozakiÃ¢â‚¬s architecture is impossible to boil down to a signature style: It has taken on aspects of Metabolism, Brutalism, High Tech, Postmodernism, and vernacular traditions over the six decades of a prolific career. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Clearly, he is one of the most influential figures in contemporary world architecture on a constant search, not afraid to change and try new ideas,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ wrote the jury, who also hailed him for his contributions to architectural theory and city planning and his promotion of younger architects.
Nevertheless, the choice of the venerable Isozaki stands in contrast to recent Pritzker picks who are known for their socially driven and humanitarian designs, such as Chilean social-housing innovator Alejandro Aravena, honored in 2016, and Shigeru Ban, the 2014 winner, who has designed for disaster survivors and refugees. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Pritzker has been swinging wildly in tone with its choices in recent years,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ as critic Alexandra Lange noted in Curbed.
Isozaki will receive his award in May in a ceremony at Versailles, near Paris.