Protesters are shutting down freeways, bridges, and tunnels across the U.S. The country's largest shantytown is being dismantled in the heart of Silicon Valley. And a proposal from a famous outdoor retailer could threaten Memphis's strangest landmark. It's What's Ruining Our Cities this week.
Protests are disrupting America
It's been a tumultuous few weeks in American cities as responses to several rulings of racially motivated police brutality have turned into massive protests across the country dubbed #BlackLivesMatter. But what's also notable is the types of protests this movement is inspiring. Protesters are shutting down freeways, tunnels, bridges, even rail corridors, and orchestrating large-scale "die-ins" at major intersections in cities from New York to Oakland to Indianapolis to Dallas to Phoenix to Anchorage (and even in cities outside the U.S.). These protests are managing to disrupt urban life in a very real way, but remarkably, they're getting adequate attention for their causes. And with some of the most major protests happening this weekend, it's obvious this is only the beginning of a larger movement. [HuffPo]
A shantytown is ruining San Jose
With a population of about 300 people, a 68-acre wooded site called "The Jungle" is named as the largest homeless community in the country. But you probably wouldn't guess the location of this encampment: Just a stone's throw from Apple's new spaceship campus in Silicon Valley. In an excellent video, Mother Jones goes inside the encampment and the efforts to evict the residents, who were ordered to be out by Wednesday. The city of San Jose is working with the residents to provide alternatives, offering them over $4 million in subsidized housing credits. But as some residents recount, it's not so easy to get potential landlords to consider your application when you admit you're formerly homeless—and competing for apartments with young tech workers. [Mother Jones]
A Bass Pro Shop will ruin Memphis
One might argue that the choice to erect a gigantic black glass pyramid in your city would already have ruined it, but the newest tenant proposed for Memphis's Great American Pyramid has many in the Southern city worried about the fate of their most puzzling yet beloved landmark. The Pyramid has been empty for over a decade, after the sports teams it was designed to host moved to different venues across town. Now, a potential savior: A 220,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop retail outlet is being proposed for the pyramid, which will also include an observation deck for the public. But as Kriston Capps recounts at CityLab, Bass Pro Shops are notorious for being courted by cities and then never following through with their plans, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill of a failed retail promise. You might call it the old bait-and-switch. [CityLab]
AP Photo/John Minchillo