Home construction in Phoenix
AP Photo/Matt York

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:

Share your city scenes on Instagram with #citylabontheground.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

  2. The facade of a casino in Atlantic City.
    Photos

    Photographing the Trumpian Urbanism of Atlantic City

    Brian Rose’s new book uses the deeply troubled New Jersey city as a window into how a developer-turned-president operates.

  3. A new map of neighborhood change in U.S. metros shows where displacement is the main problem, and where economic decline persists.
    Equity

    From Gentrification to Decline: How Neighborhoods Really Change

    A new report and accompanying map finds extreme gentrification in a few cities, but the dominant trend—particularly in the suburbs—is the concentration of low-income population.

  4. The newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in 2009, when the owners filed for bankruptcy.
    Equity

    The Hidden Costs of Losing Your City's Newspaper

    Without watchdogs, government costs go up, according to new research.

  5. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.