Also: So much for Seattle’s “Amazon tax,” and you can’t fix transit by destroying it.

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***

What We’re Following

Hold your horses: When the Census Bureau releases its municipal population estimates each spring, a kind of Urbanist Derby follows, with quick takes on America’s city vs. suburb horserace based on which places are growing and shrinking. This year, many observers thought the suburbs came out with an advantage, as they grew faster in population than central cities did.

But those basic comparisons don’t tell the whole story about where people want to live. The suburbs are growing because they're building housing. But at the same time, people are still willing to pay more to live in cities. CityObservatory’s Joe Cortright argues the triumph of the suburbs might not be because Americans desire suburban living, but because we don’t have enough of the cities people want. On CityLab: Are Americans Fleeing Cities for Suburbs? Not So Fast.

Not ready for primetime: Remember Seattle’s new “Amazon tax” we told you about yesterday? Well, it might already be on its deathbed.

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

You Can’t Fix Mass Transit By Destroying It

A suggestion that the New York City subway could be replaced by tunnels for autonomous cars would only exclude the riders who need it most.

Jarrett Walker

Urbanism Shouldn’t Be a Story of Winners and Losers

We need to make urbanism more inclusive and democratic if we want to realize a better future, and that means devolving power from the dysfunctional nation-state to cities and neighborhoods.

Richard Florida

Paris Campaigns to Protect the ‘Intangible’ Cultural Value of Its Bistros

The city wants UNESCO to list the cafe-restaurant hybrids as world heritage sites. Can that save them from decline?

Feargus O'Sullivan

Living Paycheck to Paycheck, and Hour to Hour

A new survey finds that service workers in Connecticut are hungry for more hours, and for more predictable schedules.

Sarah Holder

The Power of Giving the Homeless a Place to Belong

Solving homelessness doesn't just mean finding someone a physical home. A program in New Haven, Connecticut, focuses on helping people see themselves as members of their communities—as citizens.

Michael Rowe and Charles Barber


This Little Light

A satellite image of the Korean Peninsula at night.
(NASA Earth Observatory)

If you zoom way, way out, the possibilities for U.S.-North Korea negotiations look a little brighter. As our friends at Quartz point out, this satellite photo from NASA’s Earth Observatory in 2014 uses city lights to illuminate the economic stakes for North Korea. Just compare the light shining from the two Korean capitals: Seoul lights up with 25.6 million people in its metro area, while Pyongyang, with 3.2 million, is just a tiny fleck of light.

NASA notes that the per capita power consumption in the two countries is stark: South Korea consumes about 10,162 kilowatts for each person, compared to just 739 kilowatts for each North Korean. If North Korea opens up, this picture could look very different in just a few years’ time. ICYMI: A Plan to Modernize North Korea’s Trains Could Be a Real Game-Changer


What We’re Reading

Los Angeles is doing water better than your city (Wired)

New York City Housing Authority, accused of endangering residents, agrees to oversight (New York Times)

Sidewalks don’t have to be garbage dumps (Streetsblog)

Startups have spun an incomplete narrative about the future of work (Quartz)


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