Amazon callout: In a warning to city leaders bidding to host Amazon’s massive second headquarters site, a Los Angeles Times column finds cynical trickery in the retail giant’s request for government handouts for a project that will strain and forever alter whatever community surrounds it:
Rather than be offered bribes to move its headquarters into a community, Amazon should be made to pay for the privilege.
Perhaps the most important reason for this is that Amazon’s arrival—whether the HQ2 site is an underdeveloped urban downtown, a shovel-ready suburban greenfield or even an exurban new town—will render its host community unrecognizable compared to what existed before. Communities that boast of relatively modest costs of living and reasonable labor costs as come-ons should recognize that Amazon’s arrival will push up land values, and therefore the cost of housing and office space, and produce upward pressure on wages. That’s good for workers, not so much for existing employers.
Stepping down: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has resigned amid an escalating scandal of sexual abuse charges, denying the accusations against him from five men while concluding that his departure “is best for the city.” The liberal mayor is known as the father of Washington’s same-sex marriage law and Seattle’s landmark $15/hour wage. (New York Times)
Florida development lesson: As the the hurricane-battered beach town of Marco Island starts the process of rebuilding, Slate looks back four decades on the community’s setting as one of the biggest development controversies in the U.S.—”the environmental movement’s greatest victory over the Florida growth machine.”
Freddie Gray ruling: The U.S. Department of Justice has decided not to pursue civil rights charges against the six Baltimore police officers involved in arrest and death of Freddie Gray, the young black man whose death sparked widespread violent protests in the city in 2015. (Baltimore Sun)
Unsinkable market: Even after Hurricane Harvey revealed Houston’s vulnerability to catastrophic flooding, real estate shows no signs of slowing in the largest new-housing market in the nation, which grows by about 400 people per day and 40,000 new units per year. (New York Times)
Homes for teachers: As urban housing becomes increasingly out of reach for teachers’ salaries, cities and developers are trying a number of experiments—like the “Teachers Village” project in Newark—to retain educators. (Curbed)
The urban lens:
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