Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.
What We’re Following
Billing address: The Seattle City Council passed a tax on the city’s largest companies to fund affordable housing and fight homelessness by a unanimous vote on Monday. The bill became a thermometer for Amazon HQ2 watchers, as the online mega-retailer halted construction of a new office building until after a vote on the bill. Opposition brought the initially proposed annual tax of $500 per employee down to $275 per head, yielding $47 million in revenue to address the city’s housing problems.
But that’s only a down payment by most estimates in the home of Amazon’s first headquarters. With the third-largest homeless population in the U.S. and nearly half of all households rent-burdened, Seattle’s debate about rapid growth and affordability rages on. Gregory Scruggs reports for CityLab on the tensions at play in the fervent high-tech ecosystem.
Will the real Infrastructure Week please stand up? Don’t miss the most blunderful time of the year… sigh… it’s Infrastructure Week. (Scroll down for more on this.)
More on CityLab
We might mock the Groundhog Day of potholes that is Infrastructure Week, but the burden of our failure to maintain essential services falls on the poorest households in the country. That’s the big takeaway from this post by Adie Tomer at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program that asks “can people afford American infrastructure?”
The chart above shows what share of spending by households of varying incomes goes towards essential services such as water, electricity, transportation, and shelter. Just look at the outsized share that housing (orange) and personal vehicles (grey) make of expenses for the lowest-earning quintile of U.S. households. As Tomer writes, “While the highest earners can afford to spend more on infrastructure and still have income left to save, the lowest earners sometimes have nothing left to save from consuming the exact same services.” CityLab classic: Forget “innovators;” it’s “maintainers” that make the world spin
What We’re Reading
Uber will no longer demand silence on sexual harassment (Quartz)
Flint’s neighborhood approach to reducing crime (Next City)
Sanctuary cities could get a boost from Supreme Court’s sports betting ruling (PBS NewsHour)
A freeway-inspired folk song about induced demand at Portland City Hall (The Oregonian)
Where are our commuting jetpacks? (The Guardian)