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?
More on CityLab
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)