Adam Sneed is a senior associate editor at CityLab, focusing on city life and culture. He was previously a technology reporter at Politico and a researcher at Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.
A morning roundup of the day’s news.
The downside of growth: This week’s Census numbers brought cheers in Phoenix as the city climbed back up to the fifth-largest city in the U.S., displacing Philadelphia. A Seattle Times columnist explores the metro area’s troubled relationship with growth, which it simultaneously covets and can’t quite plan for:
[G]rowth does not pay for itself, particularly with low taxes and barely any impact fees. Population brings carrying costs to any metro area. Still, Phoenix has gotten away with its Ponzi scheme for decades. “People keep moving here, it can’t be too bad,” is the refrain of denial. …
What Phoenix has is land — nearly 517 square miles in the city alone (vs. about 84 for Seattle) and an economy built around housing and real-estate speculation. Even so, it’s is not particularly affordable for most, especially in the most desirable areas, because wages are so low for such a large city and metro.
What’s holding Dems back: How are Democratic candidates finding any footing in deep-red special elections to Congress? Politico Magazine makes the case that it’s all about gun control, and that the party might fare better in midterm elections if it learns to avoid the issue altogether.
Days of our lives: A new interactive map from the University of Washington charts life expectancy stats in every U.S. county. For all the talk of rural areas falling behind, this map makes it clear that many cities are seriously lagging behind their wealthier suburbs. (Greater Greater Washington)
Developing the West Bank: In its 50th year of occupation by Israel, there’s something new arising in the West Bank: the territory’s first planned city built by Palestinians. Complete with a luxe shopping mall, the developer is “billing his city on a hill as a revolutionary act, a raised fist with a wallet,” The Washington Post reports.
Walk this way: What does it take to get a ticket for jaywalking in Boston? One reporter spent his day trying to make that happen, prepared to accept the $1 fine for getting caught. This is his story. (Boston Globe)
The urban lens:
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