How urban planning is a tool of white supremacy

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This is the other lesson from Minneapolis. The legacy of structural racism in Minneapolis was laid bare to the world at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street , the location where George Floyd’s neck was pinned to the ground by a police officer’s knee. But it is also imprinted in streets, parks, and neighborhoods across the city—the result of urban planning that used segregation as a tool of white supremacy. Read Full Story

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NYC’s new Black Lives Matter mural is more than art. It’s the future of urbanism

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The process behind the street mural was just as important as the paint job. Ever since the words Black Lives Matter were painted in bright yellow on the street behind the White House on June 5, similar projects have appeared on the streets of cities across the country. They’ve been alternately welcomed and criticized , both from those within the Black Lives Matter movement and those outside. Read Full Story

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This new Google mapping tool shows cities where they need to plant more trees

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Trees improve urban life, but they’re not equitably distributed. As cities try to fix this, they now can quickly get a sense of what neighborhoods and streets need them most. A new map of Los Angeles highlights one form of inequality: which of the city’s streets and homes get the benefit of shade from the the city’s 10-million-plus trees. The city is the first to pilot a new tool from Google, called Tree Canopy Lab , that was used to create the map. Read Full Story

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This tool is helping cities find the neighborhoods most vulnerable to coronavirus

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Which neighborhoods will have a hard time accessing groceries while under lockdown? Which hospitals are closest to lots of seniors? Urban Footprint is helping cities map their response plans. The coronavirus crisis isn’t hitting every American equally—both in terms of factors like who is able and allowed work from home and in terms of urban design, like whether someone under lockdown can easily reach a grocery store or whether the nearest hospital is well-prepared for a surge in patients. As governments and nonprofits figure out where to send help, Urban Footprint , an urban planning tool, is beginning to map out the neighborhoods that are most vulnerable. Read Full Story

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The secret to revitalizing urban downtowns

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Most pedestrian malls failed, but the survivors have lessons to teach. In the postwar blur of suburban sprawl, interstate highways, white flight, and social uprisings, American cities saw their downtowns drained of life in the 1960s. One of the more common attempts to revive them was the development of pedestrian malls. Closed to vehicular traffic and inspired by successful pedestrianized areas in Europe, these shopping streets turned otherwise normal downtown thoroughfares into strolling spaces lined with ground floor retail, seating, planters, and pedestrian amenities. They were seen as a way to revitalize downtowns in the ’60s and ’70s, and re-create the kinds of lively, interesting public spaces that once made up the heart of cities. Enclosed suburban shopping malls were growing in popularity across the country, particularly in the suburbs. If it worked inside, the thinking went, maybe it could work outside, too. Read Full Story

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What if Central Park were home to a massive urban farm?

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A corner of Central Park was once home to a thriving Black community. Amber Tamm wants to honor the legacy of that neighborhood with a farm to feed New York’s neediest. In 1825, downtown New York City was growing crowded. Then, as now, racism made New York an uncomfortable place for Black Americans, so Andrew Williams, a Black shoeshiner, took an opportunity to move north, away from the hubub of lower Manhattan. For $125 he bought three parcels of land between what is now West 85th Street and 86th Street and where once there was just farmland. Shortly thereafter, a church bought up a plot with plans to create a cemetery for African Americans. Other Black Americans soon followed. Read Full Story

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L’Oréal did the right thing reconciling with activist and model Munroe Bergdorf

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The brand fired Bergdorf for speaking out on racism and white supremacy in 2017 but has now reportedly made amends. Back in August 2017, model Munroe Bergdorf was fired by L’Oréal Paris as a spokesperson for the brand’s diversity initiative after posting a comment on Facebook about unconscious racism in the wake of the Charlottesville protests and white supremacy marches. Munroe said in the comment , which has since been deleted, “Most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism.” Read Full Story

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George Floyd funeral and memorial services: Here’s what to know

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Memorial services for George Floyd will be held in Minneapolis, North Carolina, and Houston, with a funeral planned for Houston. Three separate memorial services and a funeral service will take place today and in the coming days for George Floyd, the black man whose death in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 touched off a wave of protests around the world. Here’s what to know: Read Full Story

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What should become of the place where George Floyd was killed?

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It’s more than just an intersection. It’s become a site of global importance. The intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis was a pocket of commercial activity in an otherwise residential area—a few busy bus stops, a gas station, a bodega on the corner. Now, it’s a makeshift memorial. Since the death of George Floyd there on May 25, and the subsequent protests it sparked in cities around the world, the area has turned into a hybrid space of activism, remembrance, tourism, and lawlessness. Read Full Story

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