People wave separatist Catalonian flags at a rally in Barcelona. Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

A morning roundup of the day’s news.

In the eye of the storm: In Catalonia's drive for independence—which the Spanish government now says it will take emergency measures to halt—there is no place with more at stake than the city of Barcelona, with its global, cosmopolitan outlook running counter to a movement that many view as echoing Brexit in its nationalist instincts. The New York Times reports:

This kind of tension has led some to fear that the independence debate has turned Barcelona into a less tolerant and more parochial city.

“Barcelona is a mixture of different people who speak different languages and came from different places,” Mr. Bartomeus said. But now “the conflict is eroding this idea of this mixture. The city is breaking apart in pieces.”

Others argue that the separatist movement is not necessarily at odds with Barcelona’s openness and international outlook.

  • See also: At CityLab Paris, Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau criticized Spanish nationalists and Catalonian independence seekers, saying city leaders are in just the right place to make a compromise.

Behind the curtains: As Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs plans its new 12-acre beta city for Toronto, a Guardian column warns us not to be naïve about the capitalist interests behind the glittery tech of “Google Urbanism,” which could effectively privatize municipal services and “establish complete monopoly over data extractivism within a city.” Meanwhile, The Week says citizens reps need to be the counterbalance to tech.

The mush that became a boomtown: Cape Coral, Florida, was built on the thin premise of passing off “inaccessible mush as prime real estate.” But today the flood-prone, storm-battered community is the largest city in America's fastest-growing metro area. (Politico)

City council bot: If city council candidate Camilo Casas wins the vote in Boulder, Colorado, he'll make decisions via ... app. He's built one called Parti.Vote, which he bills as “liquid democracy platform” that allows citizens to vote on municipal government issues. (Next City)

“Nu-transportation” woes: The crowdsourced commuter van service Chariot is taking a forced break in San Francisco, after regulators found improperly licensed drivers. Though the company will likely be back soon, Wired notes this latest proof that "nu-transportation services" are more complicated than "launching an intuitive app" for millennials.

The urban lens:

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