A morning roundup of the day’s news
New York’s strange shopping state: The city shaped by shopping is seeing a simultaneous pattern of “withering and supersizing” of its retail: street-level storefronts are going vacant along major corridors like Broadway, while new high-gloss malls are sprouting up in prominent spots. New York Magazine writes:
What becomes of the ground-floor city when retail mutates into new forms? Some luxury brands might keep their boutiques as indulgences and loss leaders. But as national chains’ contracts give up on physical locations, commercial rents could fall, clearing the way for a resurgence of small stores: designer cookies and pet spas, but also used-book stores and shoe-repair shops. Or maybe only bars and restaurants will survive, and we will repurpose vacant storefronts into living spaces for a housing-strapped city.
Detroit riots, five decades later: As the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots approaches on July 23, AP shares stories of residents who were there on the scene—and takes stock of the city’s still-ongoing efforts to fix up its battered neighborhoods and image. Meanwhile, Detroit Free Press starts a series on the riots looking at the escalating tensions that fueled the chaos.
No cash, please: In China, it’s only taken about three years for cash to become nearly obsolete in major cities, as residents turn to smartphone apps to pay for just about everything. The New York Times examines some of the challenges of this “audacious economic phenomenon,” including the monopoly of the two major payment platforms and difficulties for tourists and business travelers.
Crime strategy: The mayor of Stockton, California, is considering an unusual solution to the city’s rise in shooting deaths: paying individuals with a history of gun-related offenses up to $9,000 to clean up their lives. More than 30 other cities have contacted the nonprofit Advance Peace about implementing the program in their municipalities. (MarketWatch)
Exodus from the burbs: The Washington Post looks at the trend of suburbs losing prosperity as top companies focus on big cities, shifting economic opportunities with them. See: the move by McDonald’s corporate HQ to the West Loop of Chicago.
Crowdfunding for homes: A new investment platform called eFund—which launched in Los Angeles this month—allows prospective homebuyers to purchase shares to fund housing renovations and new developments in their city, then get 10 percent off the finished homes. Targeting millennial homebuyers, the program aims to expand to D.C. this summer, then other U.S. cities. (Business Insider)
What about the Red Line? The launch of BaltimoreLink, a $135 million redesign of the city’s state-run bus system, is reviving lingering frustration over the demise of the Red Line, the planned 14-mile light rail project planned for Baltimore that Gov. Larry Hogan pulled the plug on two years ago. (Washington Post)
Yes In My Backyard: The Sacramento Bee documents the formation of Sacramento’s new anti-NIMBY venture, “YIMBY.” Backed by Silicon Valley money, the movement is confronting California’s housing shortage by demanding more construction of homes—whether they’re homeless shelters or luxury condos. (Sacramento Bee)
Bikes and murals:
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