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. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  2. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  3. Traffic-free Times Square in New York City
    Maps

    Mapping How Cities Are Reclaiming Street Space

    To help get essential workers around, cities are revising traffic patterns, suspending public transit fares, and making more room for bikes and pedestrians.

  4. Perspective

    Coronavirus Reveals Transit’s True Mission

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  5. photo: A lone tourist in Barcelona, one of several global cities that have seen a massive crash in Airbnb bookings.
    Coronavirus

    Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus?

    The short-term rental market is reeling from the coronavirus-driven tourism collapse. Can the industry’s dominant player stage a comeback after lockdowns lift?

×