In “The Rise of ‘Urban Tech,'” urban planner Richard Florida argues, “from food-delivery startups to mapping and co-living companies, technology focused on urban systems is drawing billions of dollars in venture capital.” These “urban tech” firms are “unleashing a new round of creative destruction on cities. Like previous economic transformations, the rise of urban tech and the emergence of the city as the primary platform for economic organization will not be without growing pains. It will be up to urban leaders and the struggles of workers and citizens to channel this transformation in a democratic way, so that it respects the needs of all city dwellers and creates prosperity for all.” Vigilance is required.
In a May 2018 post I provided a link to a Pacific Standard story about the pros and cons of using more technology in the 2020 U.S. Census. I have recently encounter a CityLab story that presents a visual history of the U.S Census. The editors note,
The United States Justice Department is adding a highly contested citizenship question into the 2020 Census, which will likely lead to an undercount in places with undocumented workers and families. The political and social consequences of such an undercount in vulnerable communities would be significant and—as CityLab’s visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger reports—an all-too-familiar story.
The next U.S. Census is shaping up to be a very important one…as they have all been.
In my previous post I discussed bike sharing in Seattle. I must be closely tuned in to the Pacific Northwest lately, as the next interesting story I’d like to share is a PBS spotlight on Portland’s program to help African American families move back to areas of the city that they had to leave then gentrified. Check it out!
Dockless bike sharing is growing in many cities around the world. Wired magazine has an interesting story about the city of Seattle’s efforts to implement a dockless bike sharing system: “the city allowed three companies—Ofo, LimeBike, and Spin—to deploy up to 4,000 bikes each in a six-month trial, in return for a deluge of data about their customers and operations. Seattle planners wanted to understand in granular detail how the systems would work, and how its citizens would use them.” The data are now being analyzed. Hopefully insights will emerge that can be applied to other cities!
The Pacific Standard website has posted a long article about how an airport fence has sparked a debate over honoring victims of the United States’ internment of citizens of Japanese descent during World World II. A small airport was built on the site of the former Tulelake, California internment camp, and now debate about replacing a dilapidated fence with an eight-feet tall, three-miles long, barbed wire-topped new fence has raised questions about preserving the historical significance of the land. It is a very interesting read.
“Community trauma remains a major issue in marginalized communities,” begins an article on the Pacific Standard website about research on connections between police violence and community trauma. “But there’s still little research to show how police cause mental-health issues—or what can be done to lessen the communal anguish.” I’ll have to speak with the director of the forthcoming SJSU Human Rights Institute about research the institute can conduct in this area.
Memorial Day was a few days ago in the United States. I usually celebrate it as the unofficial first day of summer by going to see a summer blockbuster movie with friends [I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story this year.] I just came across an article about the need for social scientists to do more research on how and why holidays have moved from rituals of civic pride and remembrance toward family-oriented celebrations. This article was published in 2002, but it is still very much relevant today!
The 2020 U.S. Census is right around the corner. I’m looking forward to finally being able to definitely say that I’ve submitted a census form. I probably received a form as a homeowner in Minnesota in 2010, but don’t recall it. I lived an apartments in 2000 and 1990, and don’t remember receiving forms then either. So I am not sure if I was counted in the past 30 years (!). Perhaps digital data collection will increase the accuracy of the count, but there are pros and cons to using more technology in the census. We’ll see…
The June 2018 cover story of The Atlantic magazine presents a provocative proposition: “The Birth of the New American Aristocracy: The gilded future of the top ten percent–and the end opportunity for everyone else.” The online version of the magazine is even more incendiary: “The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy: The class divide is already toxic, and is fast becoming unbridgeable. You’re probably part of the problem.” Wow!
The Atlantic magazine has launched an interesting new podcast series about the intersections of technology and society: in 8 episodes, Crazy/Genius “asks big questions about everything from online dating to blockchain to space exploration. Is technology moving us forward or backward? How did we get here — and where are we headed?” Up first: “Why Can’t Facebook Tell the Truth?”