Also: NIMBYs dominate local meetings, and Uber tries to move past its reckless image.

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What We’re Following

Prime time: Happy anniversary to Amazon’s ongoing search for a second headquarters! A year ago today, the company asked cities across North America to apply for the chance to host an HQ2, promising a golden ticket worth 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment.

By October, 238 cities had tossed their hats in the ring, offering up free land and billions in tax incentives, which also produced a treasure trove of economic development data. Four months later—having received an avalanche of (good and bad) publicity, a bribe cactus, several pleading bid videos, and naming rights to one city in Georgia—the company named 20 finalist cities.

That was back in January, and few substantive details have been revealed about Amazon’s thinking since then. But that hasn’t stopped the speculative gears from grinding. Amazon trackers have done everything from counting clicks (Curbed) to tallying up job postings (Geekwire) to divining meaning from mysterious signals like the purple pants Jeff Bezos wore to a party recently (New York Times). The company has promised to announce the site of HQ2 by the end of the year, but maybe we’ll know the answer quicker than you can say “free two-day shipping.”

Andrew Small and Sarah Holder


More on CityLab

How Smart Should a City Be? Toronto Is Finding Out

A data-driven “neighborhood of the future” masterminded by a Google corporate sibling could be a milestone in digital-age city-building. But questions about privacy and security have dogged the Quayside project.

Laura Bliss

NIMBYs Dominate Local Zoning Meetings

A study of the Boston area shows that those who participate in planning and zoning board meetings are older, wealthier, and much more NIMBYish.

Richard Florida

A Safety-Minded Makeover for a Dangerous Brand

Uber is determined to put its reckless image in the past as it rolls out a host of new security-related features this week.

John Surico

Craft Breweries in Colorado Brace for Less Water

People in the booming beer industry in Colorado worry about predicted water shortages and threats to the high quality of Rocky Mountain water.

Lindsay Fendt

The Women Candidates Shocking the Competition

Access to money is often the greatest hurdle for non-establishment candidates. But local female politicians say the excitement of a non-traditional candidate is not only motivating voters, but in some cases, opening pockets.

Sarah Holder


Painting the Town

A photo shows ink being painted on a piece of paper.
(Jason Logan)

The urban landscape is full of all sorts of detritus, from fallen tree limbs to discarded furniture that someone left on the curb. You might never think twice about it, but illustrator Jason Logan sees that as an opportunity to make art.

For about five years, he’s been foraging cities for items he can turn into ink. Now he’s sharing his recipes with a new natural ink cookbook, revealing the colors he’s drawn from materials like black walnuts, cigarette butts, drywall, and copper wire. The result can be an unpredictable mix of color, texture, and density that’s often attached to a sense of place. “It’s really fun to pick a spot in your neighborhood and think about what ingredients, if you were to distill them, might be the essence of that place,” Logan says. Get crafty with An Inkmaker’s Guide to Urban Foraging.


What We’re Reading

Why having a job doesn’t mean you can afford a home anymore (Fast Company)

Reconstructing how the Genoa bridge collapse happened (New York Times)

It’s never Infrastructure Week (Bloomberg)

The biggest job growth under Trump isn’t manufacturing—it’s bars and coffee shops (Quartz)

As months pass in Chicago shelters, immigrant children contemplate escape (ProPublica)


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