Nicole Flatow is the editor of CityLab. She was previously U.S. enterprise editor at The Guardian.
Also: Where Uber and transit go hand in hand, and the startup economy’s winners and losers.
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Kidz bop, K-pop: There was a time when South Korea was worried about too many babies. Facing rapid development, the country instituted policies designed to encourage parents to limit the number of children per family to two. And it worked—too well. Now South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, and it’s employing extraordinarily generous family policies in an attempt to stabilize its population. Among them: bonuses for prenatal expenses, cash subsidies to new parents, and free childcare. Yet it hasn’t been enough to correct course.
Nationwide childcare has been particularly challenging. As younger people flock to the Seoul metropolitan area, which holds about half of the country’s population, the city finds itself playing a critical co-parenting role for its citizens, and for the nation itself. “Young moms especially understand that they’re not the only ones [responsible] for their children,” one researcher tells CityLab’s Linda Poon. “It’s now a public matter.”
This piece is the first in our new series, “Room to Grow.” For the rest of the year, we’ll bring you stories from around the globe about raising tiny humans in cities. We kicked off the series by surveying the parent-readers among you about what you want to learn, and what we can learn from your communities. We’ll use your answers to inform our reporting in the months to come. Hundreds of respondents told us their greatest sources of anxiety in the urban environment are cars, cost, and guns. You told us about your challenges bringing strollers on public transportation, and how you have to use a car to haul your family around even when you’d prefer not to. Some of you told us that the only community support you have is on the Internet; others are creating their own new communities. We’ll be talking to you.
Many of you also talked about defying the “wisdom” that you needed to leave the city or your neighborhood to raise children. But it hasn’t been easy to hold your ground.
Read Linda’s story for some insights into one of your most pressing questions: What can we learn from places that offer more generous benefits to new parents? The answer is more complicated than we might like it to be.
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Austin presses pause on its zoning code overhaul (Next City)
Kamala Harris wants renters to get a tax break. Is it a good idea? (Quartz)
Apple’s lesser-known engineering feat? Its buildings. (Fast Company)