Also: The hidden horror of Hudson Yards, and a buddy-cop novel about gentrification.

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What We’re Following

Ride shares: On Thursday, Uber published its initial public offering to the Securities and Exchange Commission, outlining its business potential and risks as it seeks $10 billion from investors. The full document reveals what the ride-hailing company thinks its future may hold, as well as details about how much money it has lost through subsidizing 1.5 billion rides; investments in driverless cars, e-bikes, and scooters; and the risks to its profitability posed by regulation, safety, and insurance costs. It’s clear from the filing that the company’s ability to make a profit will rely on further convincing cities to set favorable policies and partnerships to bolster its business, as CityLab’s Laura Bliss wrote late last year when Uber and Lyft supported congestion pricing in New York.

Uber’s proclaimed mission that it “ignites opportunity” by “setting the world in motion” may invite some eyerolls, but the company’s global footprint demonstrates how it has already changed the world. “Uber almost doesn’t feel like a business, but rather some essential service that investors believe should exist, so they’ve continued to inject money into it,” writes The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, who calls Uber’s IPO a landmark as it careens toward finally, just maybe, turning a profit.

More on Uber’s IPO

  • One quarter of Uber’s business happens in just five cities (Slate)

  • Uber is losing less money, but growing less, too (Wired)

  • Who does Uber compete with? Everyone. (Quartz)

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

Kriston Capps

100 Resilient Cities’ Is No More. Now What?

The Rockefeller Foundation’s global climate-resilience initiative will shutter by summer. But cities say the work must go on.

Laura Bliss

A Buddy-Cop Comedy Imagines a War Over Gentrification

The Municipalists, a debut novel by Seth Fried, has something to say about the way we talk about urbanism.

Christine Ro

Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ Water Crisis, One Year Later

In spring 2018, news of the water crisis in South Africa ricocheted around the world—then the story disappeared. So what happened?

Christian Alexander

Tactical Urbanism Makes Kids’ School Trips Safer in Africa

The inaugural WRI Ross Prize for Cities goes to SARSAI, a program that makes streets safer for children in Dar es Salaam and other African cities.

Nicole Javorsky


What We’re Reading

White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes (Washington Post)

Nine million tons of furniture go to landfills each year. (Curbed)

Could Barcelona’s plan for superblocks work in the United States? (Vox)

LeBron James opened a school that was considered an experiment. It’s showing promise (New York Times)


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