Also: The limits of the “great crime decline,” and a review of New York’s “Vessel.”

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***

What We’re Following

Long division: You may have heard the idea that federal agencies could be distributed around the United States as a form of economic stimulus. In North Carolina, a similar idea might soon be put into practice. The state is about to sign off on a budget that moves its Division of Motor Vehicles out of Raleigh to give an economic boost to Rocky Mount, 60 miles east of the booming capital. When it became time to vacate the DMV’s deteriorating headquarters, some saw this as an opportunity to bridge North Carolina’s urban-rural divide, redistributing state resources to a county with the highest unemployment rate in the state and scoping out a cheaper office to rent.

For the DMV workers already living and working in Raleigh, the prospect of relocating is more than just an experiment in economic development. It means uprooting their lives or facing longer commutes without public transportation. In a poll, a majority of agency employees said they would rather leave their jobs than make the new commute. “It’s not an economic development victory when you simultaneously create economic distress for 400 state employees,” one state employees union representative tells CityLab’s Sarah Holder. Read her story: Should Government Agencies Move Out of Capital Cities?

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Troubling Limits of the ‘Great Crime Decline’

The fall of urban violence since the 1990s was a public health breakthrough, as NYU sociologist Patrick Sharkey says in his book Uneasy Peace. But we must go further.

Mark Obbie

Kamala Harris's $15 Million Proposal to Fix Local Government Tech

The 2020 presidential candidate introduced a bill to help local governments modernize their digital services. Is this the lifeline cities need?

Linda Poon

Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Amsterdam’s Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can’t Rent It Out

In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

Feargus O'Sullivan

As AI Takes Over Jobs, Women Workers May Have the Most to Lose

Women, especially if they are Hispanic, may be at most financial risk from the automation of jobs says a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Sarah Holder


Bloom Town

(ForWarn)

Today may technically be the first day of spring, but the seasonal greening—or “greenup”—of America’s forests, fields, and urban areas is already well underway in some parts of the country, and yet to come in others. This glorious psychedelic map from the U.S. Forest Service shows how plants transition from one season to another across the U.S., based on satellite imagery. While it’s eye candy to most of us, the greenup info is helpful to land managers planning for disturbances like weather and pests, and it shows that spring springs at different times in different regions, and even in different neighborhoods. From the CityLab archives: Welcome Spring With This Psychedelic Map of the U.S. in Bloom


What We’re Reading

Inside Airbnb’s “guerrilla war” against local governments (Wired)

China’s e-buses put a dent in oil demand (Bloomberg)

What happened when we found lead paint in our historic house (Curbed)

Mayor Pete: 2020’s stealth climate candidate (Grist)

Quiz: Can you identify these world cities from their density maps alone? (The Guardian)


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