Testy relationship: To understand the “unremitting hostility” between states and big cities, Governing speaks to two political scientists who examined state legislation over 120 years, who found that bills affecting cities passed at a 15 to 20 percent lower rate than other legislation. Partisanship, ethnicity, and the lack of a single voice from city delegates all play a role, say the researchers, who translate their past findings to 2017:
A few weeks ago, I asked Kousser if he thought the conclusions of his research applied to the present. He gave me a cautiously mixed answer. On the one hand, he said, the conflict between urban interests and legislative power is too deeply ingrained in American politics to disappear. ... But he conceded that something new was happening. The legislatures seem fraught with open hostility in a way they haven’t been in the past. Legislatures aren’t just holding up urban requests these days; they’re preempting cities from taking action on a whole range of major subjects. Missouri won’t let St. Louis raise its minimum wage; North Carolina is blocking Charlotte from enacting LGBT protections; Tennessee doesn’t want Nashville to build a light rail system. Texas would prefer that its cities not do much of anything at all.
The persistence of commuting: Despite past predictions on the rise of telework, the value of face-to-face interactions have kept commuting alive and well in the U.S., as jobs have remained clustered in cities. The only truly disruptive force, experts say in Pacific Standard, could be virtual reality tech more sophisticated than we can now imagine.
Pining for Millennials: U.S. mayors agree that attracting Millennials to their cities is a top priority, but they’re divided on the best ways to draw and retain them, according to a Politico Magazine survey that notes the challenging absence of civic leaders and spokespeople from the generation.
Dancing allowed: New York City’s “Cabaret Law,” created to patrol speakeasies during the Prohibition, is expected to be repealed after 91 years of (at least in theory) preventing social dancing in bars. (New York Times)
Desert dream: In the middle of the Arizona desert, a futuristic housing community has been living by the principles of “arcology”—blending architecture with ecology—for the past half century, following the utopian ideals of Italian architect Paolo Soleri. (Vice Motherboard)
The urban lens:
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