The Perfect Height for Urban Buildings
“This is the urbanist myth that just won’t die,” Jasmine and Patrick of the YouTube channel Oh the Urbanity! proclaim. This video dissects the commonly-held notion that the ideal building height is about five stories maximum. It’s Inspired largely by Danish designer and architect Jan Gehl’s landmark text Cities for People, in which he argues that taller buildings are out of scale with the human experience, writing “The natural starting point for the work of designing cities for people is human mobility and the human senses.” Human interaction, Gehl suggests, is only possible below 25 meters; too far above that, he says, and the contact interface changes to “views, clouds and airplanes.”
Philly Might Expand Stop-and-Frisk – Here’s a Road Map To Avoid Past Problems
This article originally appeared in The Conversation. Violent crime, and how to reduce it, dominated the 2023 Philadelphia mayoral campaign. As a candidate, Cherelle Parker suggested she would support using stop-and-frisk to combat gun violence. After being elected, Parker reiterated her stance, but emphasized “there is no place for unconstitutional stop-and-frisk.”
It’s Time To Act Locally To Address Racial Wealth Inequality
As we close out Black History Month and the celebration of the many invaluable contributions Black people have made to the U.S., we must also reflect, acknowledge and confront one of the most pernicious issues that has faced generations of Black Americans: racial wealth inequality. Black people have never been...
Could Giving Teens $50 a Week Help Curb Poverty?
This article first appeared on Verite News and is republished here under a Creative Commons license. When Ra’Son Johnson heard about a study giving teens $50 a week for 40 weeks, she says she immediately signed up because she needed the cash. Ra’Son is a junior at Rooted School,...
Affordable Housing Is Never the Only Problem – Or the Only Solution
The following is an excerpt adapted from “Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing American Society, One Zip Code at a Time” (Hachette 2023) by Seth D. Kaplan, an expert in fragile states. Eva Belle Favors Davis was one of the first residents of East Lake Meadows, a public housing project in...
The Weekly Wrap: A Controversial Plan To Cap a Buffalo Freeway Draws Opposition
Welcome to The Weekly Wrap, our Friday round-up of stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. India Walton Among Those Opposed to Buffalo Freeway Cap. A plan to cap the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo and...
Participatory Defense Hubs Are Shifting the Power Dynamics in the Criminal Justice System
When Monica Allison’s son was facing charges and awaiting trial incarcerated on Philadelphia’s State Road, she had no idea what to do. She didn’t know what to expect from the legal process — what the steps were and in what order or what she could expect from her son’s defense attorney, to name a few questions.
Local Control is the Way to Lasting Change in Communities
Through local control and guidance, a project that has been years in the making came to fruition last February in a small, rural town in Uganda. The Tat Sat Community Academy opened to much fanfare one year ago in Uganda’s Kyotera district. The academy includes a secondary school, a savings and credit cooperative organization, and the Institute of Indigenous Cultures and Performing Arts. The community has also built and is operating a maize mill for local farmers as well as a medical facility to serve students and the community at large, which will begin operations this year.
The School District That Got Into the Affordable Housing Business
Tim Moffet, an educator in Eagle County, scopes out the site of his future home in Eagle, Colorado, on June 30, 2023. Moffet was approved to purchase an affordable home built by a partnership between the local school district and Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley. (Photo by Rae Solomon / KUNC)
It’s Time for City Planners To Be Proactive About Church Property Transitions
This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks. The following is adapted from an essay in “Gone for Good? Negotiating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition” (Eerdmans Publishing, 2024). Edited by Mark Elsdon, the book brings together clergy, property developers, urban planners and more to explore mission-centered transition of church property.
The Black Immigrant Women Who Bought a Minneapolis Mall
The receipts are in the group chat. Every time a member of the Ignite Business Women Investment Group deposited an investment in the group’s account, board president Jannie Seibure’s phone would ping as a photo of the deposit receipt was posted in the cooperative’s WhatsApp chat. A...
The Communities Trying to Take Over Their Local Electric Utility
Organizers with Metro Justice at a rally in Rochester, New York, in March 2023. (Photo courtesy Metro Justice) This story was originally published by Grist. Climate activists have set their sights on a new target in the fight to slow global warming: utilities. Around a dozen communities across the country...
The Weekly Wrap: Could Oregon Roll Back Drug Decriminalization?
Welcome to The Weekly Wrap, our Friday round-up of stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Oregon Lawmakers Weigh Rollbacks of Drug Decriminalization. An Oregon policy that decriminalized the use of all drugs in trace...
This Canadian Community Shows the Key to Thriving Black Urbanism
Read this op-ed in Haitian Creole and in French. Like so many tumultuous moments before it, the pandemic harmed hundreds of Black-owned businesses across the U.S. and Canada. Mary’s African Cuisine restaurant beat the odds because she never gambled – she being Mary Nkrumah, the founder and owner of Mary’s African Cuisine in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The People Who Enable Thriving Affordable Housing Communities
Despite having the world’s largest GDP, the United States lags behind in delivering economic mobility and social benefits to our citizens. The percentage of our population living in poverty is the worst of all 38 OECD member nations and, in most metrics, we’re below the OECD average. We’re...
Minneapolis Solar Nonprofit Is Proving Patience Can Bring Results to Lower-Income Residents
Jacques Beech saw his electric bill fall to $100 a month after installing solar panels on his Minneapolis home. (Photo by Brad Stauffer / Energy News Network) One installation at a time, a solar nonprofit that matches socially conscious investors’ cash with lower-income homeowners is spreading the benefits of solar in North Minneapolis.
As States Limit Black History Lessons, Philly Gets it Right, Researcher Says
LaGarrett King is the director of the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education at the Univesity at Buffalo. (Photo courtesy St. Thomas University) This story was produced by The 74, a non-profit, independent news organization focused on education in America. The culture war in education that began...
What’s the Best Price for City Parking?
It’s a simple story of supply and demand. “There are a lot of cars, but the dense central city doesn’t have a lot of parking spaces to accomodate all those cars,” explains Dave Amos, Cal Poly city planning professor and Next City Vanguard alum, in a recent video on his YouTube channel City Beautiful.
The Black ‘Banker Ladies’ Bringing Alternative Finance to Toronto
The city of Toronto is the financial capital of Canada and home to some of the world’s largest banks. But not all people can access the city’s vibrant financial services. Many people are unable to access a bank account, credit or a mortgage, in part due to their race, class or immigration status. Without a formal financial history, and with banks often discriminating against marginalized customers, disadvantaged communities fail to build sustainable growth.
‘Park Friends’ Groups Give Philly Residents a Say in Their Public Spaces
This story was originally published by Kensington Voice. Sign up for their newsletters here. Twenty years ago, Julius Rivera and his neighbors were organizing to improve the conditions on their block in East Kensington. But they soon realized the playground was a barrier to their efforts. “If there was drama...
Next City is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events around the world.