(WASHINGTON POST) Flint, Ferguson, New Orleans and Baltimore — cities now inseparable from the national news stories centered there — became calamities for separate reasons. One was a natural disaster (made worse by human error), another a wholly man-made crisis. The two others began with police violence, but in disparate settings: the newly impoverished suburbs and the long-distraught inner city. Flint and New Orleans were failures of infrastructure, Baltimore and Ferguson a collapse of human relationships.
“On one level,” says Henry Louis Taylor, “they all look and appear to be very, very different.” But, argues the professor of urban and regional planning at the University at Buffalo, it’s about time we begin to talk about them in the same breath. “These are places that are left behind, forgotten,” he says. “They’re places we’ve gotten very good at shielding from view.”