A round-up of the best stories on cities and urbanism we’ve come across in this week.
Can Free College Save American Cities?
"Kalamazoo’s spirits—much like its population—had been in precipitous decline. From 1970 to 2007, the city’s population shrank 20 percent to just over 70,000. The sad, slow leak of manufacturing jobs had caused a sad, slow leak of the middle class. Poverty was nearly twice the national average. Within some pockets of city, the problems were startling: in Northside, a predominantly black neighborhood, the poverty rate was 37 percent—worse than even basket-case Detroit, two hours to the east …
The idea was one part radical social engineering: How better to change the life trajectory of the city’s struggling urban poor than to send them to college? As economists have long known, the biggest single predictor of financial success in modern America is a college degree… Increasingly, those with no higher education are the ones left behind. But the Kalamazoo Promise wasn’t just a big idea about the new economics of education; the hope wasn’t just to send more kids to college – but to turn around an entire town.”
read more: Politico Magazine, 04.2014.