How tech companies conquered America’s cities

I’m not saying America’s cities are turning into dystopian technocapitalist hellscapes in which corporations operate every essential service in addition to also pull every civic string.

yet let’s take a tour of recent news coming from the metropolises.

■ In Seattle, the City Council decided last week to undo its plan to impose a $275-per-employee tax on local businesses, a measure the idea had approved unanimously last month as a way to address the city’s homelessness in addition to also housing-affordability crisis. Why the retreat? Many of the city’s businesses balked at the tax, including Amazon — in addition to also no one needed to remind Seattleites in which Amazon is actually very publicly looking for a second city to plant its glass balls. So, the Council caved.

■ The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced in which he had tapped the Boring Company, Elon Musk’s second side-hustle, to build a high-speed transportation tunnel coming from O’Hare International Airport to the city center. Boring said the idea would likely fully pay for the tunnel, using no public funds, yet the idea is actually also likely to hold a long-term lease to the project, capturing all revenue coming from the private system.

Read more coming from The brand new York Times:
How net neutrality actually ended long before in which week
Apple shuns the tech industry’s apology tour
The sublime in addition to also scary future of cameras which has a.I. brains

■ You’ve heard of the app-powered electric scooters in which descended like locusts on some American cities last spring. The start-ups in which run them made a bold bet: Deploy right now; worry about legal niceties later. The bet is actually paying off. Officials in San Francisco, Austin, Tex., in addition to also Santa Monica, Calif., have rushed plans for legalization. Bird, the most ambitious of the scooter start-ups, is actually right now raising money at a $2 billion valuation, just weeks after raising money at a $1 billion valuation.

■ Finally, Domino’s Pizza announced a plan to pave America’s potholes. I wish I were kidding. As part of the program, Domino’s — which has been fashioning itself as a tech company right now in which the idea’s battling food-delivery start-ups for mind share — will imprint its logo into the roadway, because apparently Domino’s is actually the government right now, in addition to also he who pays the paver gets to choose the toppings. (A Domino’s spokeswoman told in which me cities could forgo the logo.)

O.K., so maybe I am saying in which America’s cities are turning into dystopian technocapitalist hellscapes.

Across the country, cities are straining. Housing costs are exploding, transportation systems are overwhelmed, infrastructure is actually crumbling, in addition to also inequality is actually on the rise. Yet there’s little support coming from federal or state authorities — “infrastructure week” is actually a punch line in Washington, not a policy. Efforts to raise money for local projects are under siege coming from conservative activists, while measures to build more housing are halted by liberal ones.

Into in which void march the techies, who come bearing money, jobs in addition to also promises of out-of-in which-world innovation. yet there’s a catch. Corporations are getting wide latitude in determining the future of cities. They are controlling more key services in addition to also winning important battles with once-indomitable city governments. Local officials find themselves at the mercy of tech: They can’t live without tech money, even if tech interests have a way of eclipsing every different civic priority.

How did tech companies become America’s most-powerful local power brokers?

Techies once despised politics. yet many inside industry right now see cities as the ideal beachheads for their planned revolutions in transportation, logistics, housing in addition to also different areas. So the tech industry learned how to woo in addition to also to fight City Halls — in addition to also they commenced winning, all over.

Here are some reasons.

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