Urban Review: Robot Work, Documenting Detention Centers and World Cup


This week, World Cup kicks off, experts ponder a future of robot work and a new report looks at detention centers across Texas and what happens to the people held inside them.

Toy Robot

This week, World Cup kicks off, experts ponder a future of robot work and a new report looks at detention centers across Texas and what happens to the people held inside them.

Title Page

If The Robots Come for Our Jobs, What Should Government Do? New York Times.


Overlooked U.S. border shantytowns face threat of gathering storms. Reuters.

Last summer, Hurricane Harvey devastated eastern Texas, a few hundred miles away, with 50 inches of rain in five days causing disastrous flooding.

Residents in south Texas’ colonias fear such powerful storms could hit them next.

“In the last four, five years we have seen an increase in the storms, and that increases the vulnerability of these people that don’t have proper infrastructure,” said Martha Sanchez, a LUPE organizer.

“It has to do with climate change ... It’s going to get worse.”

Executive Summary

It's estimated that some 90 percent of Houston-area immigrants in detention do not have legal representation, according to a new report from the Human Rights First, an advocacy organization with a Houston office.

In addition to drawing attention to the trauma of family separation and incidents of alleged mistreatment and abuse in detention facilities, the report also highlights the lack of representation and the consequences this has for individual outcomes, prolonging detention, putting parole out of reach and a lower rate of being granted asylum.

“Even though legal representation is critical to proving eligibility for asylum and other immigration relief, the overwhelming majority of those held in immigration detention facilities in Texas are unrepresented in these complex legal proceedings,” said Laura Nally, managing attorney in Human Rights First’s Houston office, in a statement Thursday. “For people seeking protection from persecution, the lack of legal representation can be a matter of life or death.”

In fact, detention itself exacerbates this lack of representation, according to the report. "Texas attorneys reported long waits—from two to six hours—for client meetings, frequent transfers of detainees, limited confidentiality, and access impediments for legal assistants, law students, and interpreters," according to the report.


Theaster Gates has a message for collectors, dealers and the art world at large: "Please support artists who live in your cities." That's what he told a crowd at a Basel dinner this week, according to ARTnews. "You guys, I know that I’m the byproduct of people saying yes when they didn’t know me, saying yes at my potential and the possibility of the thing,” he said. "I also understand that there are thousands and thousands of people who are way more talented but far less cute.”

Though his art spans different media, his focus is often on place. His Stony Island Arts Bank on the south side of Chicago is a repurposed bank turned "part library, part community center, part gallery," as Smithsonian magazine put it, and it reflects his background in urban planning. As a faculty member at the University of Chicago, Gates heads up Place Lab, aimed at documenting and demonstrating "urban ethical redevelopment strategies initiated through arts and culture." That work led to partnerships in other cities. While that approach, which some have called "artwashing," hasn't gone unquestioned, his call for cities to support their artists is a reminder not just for dealers and collectors but city institutions as well.


Mailing Address

6100 Main St. MS-208
Houston, TX 77005-1892


Physical Address

Rice University
Kraft Hall
6100 Main Street, Suite 305
Houston, TX 77005-1892

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