February 14: Fair, affordable development l Kindergarten lottery concerns | Mussel mania

The High Line has had millions of visitors and is set to generate $1 billion in tax revenues over the next 20 years. The park’s smashing success highlights Manhattan’s rising inequality, however. The neighboring low-income communities of color have not been using or benefiting economically from this powerful amenity. City Lab reports the park’s organizers are now exploring ways to ensure affordable housing and equitable access, looking at other cities’ toolkits including inclusive zoning, subsidies, and a land trust.

Cities are also facing similar challenges in helping develop their DIY artist spaces. Following the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, cities full of vacant buildings have been searching for ways to help artists stay in spaces safely. Next City reports the new mayor of Baltimore has created a Safe Arts Space Task Force to find solutions and resources for affordable live-work spaces, but these new conversations highlight an underlying mistrust.

Meredith Elementary, a high performing school in Queen Village, has switched to a lottery system for kindergarten. Residents in the school’s catchment area tell the Inquirer they’re upset that they moved to the neighborhood specifically for that school but their kids might not get a spot. “There is this general feeling that there are a handful of schools where people who are part of the gentrification of this city feel comfortable sending their children to,” school principal Lauren Overton said. “This is an issue that’s charged with elements of race and class.”

The building boom in Philadelphia continues, with more than 20 active construction sites throughout the city. Curbed Philly highlights seven high-rise mixed-use developments replacing parking lots, poised to transform their area and help the city’s growing population.

Inner ring neighborhoods do not see the same multimillion-dollar developments that the urban core has been experiencing. In Cincinnati, the Walnut Hills neighborhood offers an example of how small-scale infrastructure changes in order to attract larger investment.

The Delaware River basin used to be teeming with freshwater mussels, which have over the years become the most endangered species in North America. In an effort to restore the local freshwater mussel population, the Philadelphia Water Department, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and the Fairmount Water Works have joined forces to create the Mussel Hatchery, the Inquirer reports.

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