Also: New York City’s self-induced transportation crisis, and the “Dutch reach” comes to driver’s ed.
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What We’re Following
Bigger in Texas: It’s been a big year for tech giants expanding their footprints in American cities, and it looks like there’s still more to come. Apple joined the fray today, announcing a major expansion in Austin, Texas. The plan is to invest $1 billion in a new 133-acre campus that will accommodate 5,000 additional employees, with the capacity to grow to 15,000. The Texas capital already hosts 6,200 Apple employees, representing the company’s largest workforce outside of Cupertino. This move is expected to make it the largest private employer in Austin.
Of course, the announcement comes on the heels of Amazon’s HQ2 search, but there has been a wave of lower-profile tech expansions this year as well, including Facebook in Chicago and Google in San Jose and (probably) New York. We don’t yet know whether Austin offered up tax incentives to entice Apple, but NPR reports that the expansion comes six years after the company signed a 10-year economic development contract in Texas that featured a 100 percent property tax rebate and other incentives. What is clear is that Amazon’s contest brought a new level of scrutiny to the practice of using economic incentives to lure major employers—CityLab’s Richard Florida has even called on mayors to end the practice altogether. What’s still to be seen is if the HQ2 sweepstakes primed the pump for more incentives.
More on CityLab
In most places in the U.S., a car is not just a vehicle to new destinations, but to better economic opportunities. But the American dream that cars symbolize has become elusive. Americans take out car loans at record levels, and many aren’t able to maintain monthly payments. A new map from the Urban Institute reveals the geography of auto loan debt and delinquency at the state and county level, and makes clear where this burden weighs most heavily.
While auto loan debt is pretty widespread across the country, the map above shows how loan delinquency—the share of borrowers who were at least 60 days overdue on payments—is much more concentrated in the South. If you look at the map, the share of loan delinquency in Alabama (9 percent), South Carolina (8 percent), and Texas (7 percent) is higher than the national average (4 percent). CityLab’s Tanvi Misra digs into the data: Mapping the Subprime Car Loan Crisis
What We’re Reading
Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, is on the verge of transformation (Detroit Free Press)
On guard, unchecked: Security guards in Chicago get little scrutiny, oversight (Chicago Tribune)
He helped collect rent at Oakland’s Ghost Ship. Now he faces trial for 36 deaths there. (New York Times)
A slashed tire, a pointed gun, bullies on the road: Why do Waymo self-driving vans get so much hate? (Arizona Republic)