Welcome back to The Weekly Wrap! If you’re new here, this is 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.
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Wisconsin Eviction Records Will Not Be Held After Two Years
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court approved a petition to stop making eviction records available on the state court website after two years, CBS News Minnesota reports. The petition was filed by the group Legal Action of Wisconsin and pertains to all cases where no money judgment is made. The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted in favor of the new rule 5-3, which will eventually end the practice of keeping eviction records for 20 years. The changes would take effect in 2025 after another vote from the justices to approve language for the rule change, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. Eviction records have been shown to lengthen poverty by making it harder for people to find new homes.
Manhattan Open Streets Led to $3 Million Boost to Businesses
A report shows that a temporary holiday closure of streets to automobiles on Fifth Avenue resulted in a $3 million boost to local businesses, Patch reports. The report was conducted by Mastercard and New York City’s Office of Technology and Innovation. In 2022, the city closed 11 blocks near Rockefeller Center, a large, crowd-drawing tourist destination during the winter months, when it becomes home to an enormous Christmas tree. The result of the closure was a 6.6% increase in spending compared to neighboring blocks where automobiles were permitted. Mayor Eric Adams is now considering a permanent version of the initiative through a public-private partnership dubbed “Future of Fifth.”
Chicago Eliminates Tipped Wages
Chicago’s city council voted 36 to 10 to phase out the tipped minimum wage of $9.48 over five years, bringing it in line with the city’s minimum wage of $15.80, Eater Chicago reports. This move fulfills a campaign promise from Mayor Brandon Johnson. The city now joins San Francisco, Los Angeles and D.C. in eliminating the tipped minimum wage. The nonprofit that advocated for the wage increase, One Fair Wage, plans to introduce campaigns in New York and Boston next.
Small Businesses Have Tougher Time Getting Loans from Big Banks
The amount of small business lending by large banks has decreased steadily since June 2022, according to Inc. Magazine. The outlet cites a report showing that the share of loans at big banks that go to small businesses decreased to 13.2% in August, down from 15.1% a year before. The data is from Biz2Credit, which looked at 1,000 small businesses that use its platform. Biz2Credit’s CEO attributes the drop to the Federal Reserve’s tightening interest rates and says that the tough environment for small businesses is unlikely to let up until interest rates are lowered again.
The Palestinian Flag Is Being Criminalized In the U.K.
Hyperallergic reports that United Kingdom Parliament member Suella Braverman issued an advisory letter suggesting that waving the Palestinian flag could be considered a criminal act in Britain. According to the letter, Braverman says that since Hamas is considered a “terrorist organization” by the U.K. government, it is not only illegal to belong to Hamas or publically support Hamas, but also “publish an image of an article such as a flag or logo in the same circumstances.” Later in the letter, Braverman says, “Behaviours that are legitimate in some circumstances, for example, the waving of a Palestinian flag, may not be legitimate such as when intended to glorify acts of terrorism.” The director of the U.K.’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign told Hyperallergic that leaving this determination to the discretion of police could increase harassment and persecution of Palestinian communities in the U.K.
Curated by Deonna Anderson
Portland released its first report about the impact of the city’s tiny home program for residents experiencing homelessness. Axios
Land banking in Atlanta and community solar in New Orleans offer a roadmap for embedding reparative politics in city policies. Next City
Here’s how noise pollution affects the health of Richmonders. VPM News
The Black Futures Lab, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is accepting applications for its Black Organizing Innovations Project. It will award grants of up to $250,000 to community organizations working to engage and activate Black men ahead of the 2024 election and beyond. The deadline to apply is November 1. Learn more and apply here.
The housing team at PolicyLink is seeking applicants for its inaugural class of Spatial Futures Fellows. It supports leaders who are envisioning new futures for land and housing in the U.S. The deadline to apply is November 9, 2023. Learn more and apply here.
Detroit is on its way to reaching “functional zero” homelessness for veterans. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, Next City will be talking to the practitioners who are working on this effort. Register for the webinar here!
And don’t forget to check out upcoming Next City events and others hosted by partner organizations here.
This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice.
Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.