A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Power play: Major U.S. cities are paying attention to London’s hardball move of rejecting Uber’s license renewal, wondering if this a turning point for the company that’s built a reputation for defying local governments. Wired writes of Uber’s new conciliatory tone:
It’s a departure for Uber, which has historically preferred fire, fury, and petulance to diplomacy. This is the company that ended service in Austin after the Texan capital imposed regulations like fingerprinting drivers. The company that launched an ultra-snarky in-app de Blasio mode when New York’s mayor threatened to cap the number of its cars. (De Blasio backed down.) London, though, may be too important for the not-yet-profitable company to lose. With 3.5 million riders, London is Uber’s biggest European market. By yanking that operating license, London has found itself a big bargaining chip.
Monument solutions: After settling down from a “Facebook flamewar” over Confederate memorials, two Georgia politicians are now working together on legislation to grant cities the right to remove their own monuments. (The Intercept)
What about subways? Self-driving cars and transit are “poised to upend the world the way the automobile upended horses,” according to a Washington Post report that notes experts aren’t even mentioning subways as part of the transportation future.
Walkability fail: A coalition of major public health organizations gives the U.S., as a country, failing grades for key measures of walkability, including safety, public transportation, and pedestrian infrastructure. (Streetsblog)
Municipal Alexa: Amazon’s voice-tech platform is proving its value for local governments—see Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Cary, N.C.—to connect citizens with information on events, traffic, trash pickups, and the like. (GovTech)
The urban lens:
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