Sarah Holder

Sarah Holder

Sarah Holder is a staff writer at CityLab covering local policy, housing, labor, and technology.

Drilling Wells in Los Angeles

Why Is California Approving So Many New Oil Wells?

Drilling and fracking permits are up since Governor Newsom took office. But it’s not totally clear why.

A poster for Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant that reads "Tax Amazon."

How Seattle’s City Council Race Became the Amazon Election

Amazon contributed more than a million dollars to a pro-business PAC in Seattle city council races. But that wasn’t the biggest tech spend in local elections.

photo: a student displays her clear plastic backpack

The Empty Promise of the Clear Plastic Backpack

Since the 1990s, transparent plastic book bags have been promoted as a security solution after school shootings and terror attacks. But their true effects are hazy.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and California Governor Gavin Newsom look at a map of San Jose

What’s Missing From Apple’s $2.5 Billion Housing Plan

Apple is the latest tech giant to commit funds to California’s housing crisis. But experts say the largest barrier to housing is not money; it's political will.

The Wiyot tribe celebrates the land return in an October 21 ceremony.

In California, a Native American Tribe’s Quest: Give Back Our Island

The Wiyot Tribe was driven from California’s Duluwat Island in 1860. After decades of lobbying by the tribe, the Eureka City Council returned it.

photo: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg at a campaign stop in Waterloo, Iowa, in September.

Pete Buttigieg’s Climate Vision: Local Fixes for a Planet in Crisis

The South Bend mayor’s approach to the climate crisis reflects his recent experiences with Indiana floods, and his belief that cities can lead with solutions.

Under a creepy bridge in Washington, D.C.'s metro.

Navigator: Spooked

a photo of a WeWork office building

What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

James Mueller (left) talks to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (right)

South Bend’s Mayoral Election Could Decide More than Pete Buttigieg's Replacement

Pete Buttigieg's former chief of staff, James Mueller, is vying with a Republican challenger to be the next mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

a photo of a darkened CVS Pharmacy in downtown Sonoma, California.

Why the Bay Area Is Having a Massive Power Outage

Wildfire risks have led the embattled California utility PG&E to order a preemptive electric grid shutdown, leaving more than 2 million at risk of losing power.

A woman holds up a debit card.

In Stockton, Early Clues Emerge About Impact of Guaranteed Income

A universal basic income experiment in Stockton, California, is nearly halfway over. How has $500 a month affected the lives of 125 residents?

A row of Lime scooters in Washington, DC

Lime Wants its Battery-Charging Gig Workers to Use Clean Energy

The dockless mobility company will encourage its battery-charging gig workers in D.C. and Maryland to convert to renewable energy.

A tent, spray-painted with the words "Sleep. It's Not A Crime."

Why Calling the Police About Homeless People Isn’t Working

Complaints about San Francisco homelessness have risen, but even if callers simply want to help, shortages means citations are given more often than support.

A crane in the San Francisco sky

What the ‘Crane Index’ Says About Your Changing City

In some cities, a skyline full of construction equipment has become synonymous with change and displacement. But there are things cranes can’t tell you.

Saving 20 Sites That Tell the Story of American Women

The sites that get the most public votes will win a total of $2 million from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express.

Traffic at night in California.

California Just Upended Gig Work. Other Cities and States Could Follow.

Legislators approved a bill that would reclassify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees, but the debate over gig worker rights is only beginning.

A man sleeping on a sidewalk in Los Angeles.

The White House Is Planning a Federal Intervention on California Homelessness

President Trump reportedly ordered officials to wade into the homeless crisis in Los Angeles. But local leaders are wary of federal involvement.

Two politicians talk while seated in a full assembly chamber.

After Amazon’s HQ2 Retreat, New York State Lawmakers Target ‘Corporate Welfare’

Democrats in Albany have introduced and are drafting various bills that seek to regulate economic development incentives.

A multi-family home being built next to a single-family home in Seattle.

The Cities Where Job Growth Is Outpacing New Homes

Coastal metros are building more multi-family units than in the past, but it's still not enough. Meanwhile, in some Sun Belt metros, new building outpaces jobs.