Metropolis

With the rise of remote work, cities like Tulsa and Tucson are offering big bucks to lure talent untethered by an office

Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Metropolis is a column about the intersection of technology, business, and cities.

It’s not Instagram, but it may as well be. Tucson, Arizona, flaunts its star-filled desert sunset landscapes, taunting you with the thought that this could be your backyard view. Northwest Arkansas sells itself with a thrilling picture of a mountain biker navigating an elevated trail: sparkling water on one side, lush forests on the other, and, one assumes, a bright, adventurous future ahead. Vermont’s photos — small towns, steeples, and all, framed by rolling green mountains — tug at one’s sense of nostalgia. These aren’t ads targeted at…


A live music venue with shuttered doors. Old concert posters are taped up and a health mask is fluttering in the wind. There are graffiti markings over the closed pull down garage doors.
A live music venue with shuttered doors. Old concert posters are taped up and a health mask is fluttering in the wind. There are graffiti markings over the closed pull down garage doors.
Jimmy Simpson for Marker

And it’s going to be total chaos

When the stage lights rose before the show on March 14, 2020, at Saint Vitus, a cramped New York City heavy metal bar, the venue felt a little more on edge than normal. In its near decade of shows, dance parties, and drinking, the intimate, dimly lit bar and concert venue, a former plumbing school located in the “ass-end” of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, had become an internationally respected nexus for all things heavy metal. That Saturday night, a noise-rock supergroup called Human Impact would give the last concert before the venue officially announced a shutdown on the 17th. …


Marc Lore joins Bill Gates and Peter Thiel as the latest founder to create a city in his own reflection

An artistic rendering of a techno-futuristic city with modern skyscrapers and uniquely shaped structures.
An artistic rendering of a techno-futuristic city with modern skyscrapers and uniquely shaped structures.
Illustration: Comrade

In historian Ben Wilson’s new book on the history of cities, Metropolis, he notes that the ancient Mesopotamian settlement of Uruk, considered urbanization’s first draft, actually came thousands of years after an elaborate stone worship site was assembled on a mountainside in present-day Turkey. “The temple came before the farm,” he wrote. In other words, beliefs are more important than buildings.

This truism of city hatching is just as relevant today, at a time when tech moguls seek to refashion themselves as a different kind of founder. In a recent interview with Recode, Marc Lore, a billionaire serial e-commerce entrepreneur…


The high-tech real estate startup boasts SoftBank backing, a $1.6 billion war chest, and plenty of skeptics. Now it’s cashing in on the pandemic real estate boom.

Illustration: Maria Chimishkyan

“None of us knows how long this crisis will last,” pleaded Robert Reffkin in a letter to Nancy Pelosi and her Republican counterpart Kevin McCarthy in March. Reffkin, CEO of real estate startup Compass, was urging Congress to include independent contractors like real estate agents — some 2 million of them in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors — in its economic stimulus package. In his plea, Reffkin cleared up any misconceptions about the professionals: They were entrepreneurs and small business owners who represent the backbone of the U.S. economy, personify the American dream, yet typically…


Eviction protections have ended in many states, but the fallout from the pandemic rages on. Tenants are being evicted over video chat as the courts adjust to social distancing, and the government has shown little concern in addressing a housing crisis that affects Black and Brown renters the most.


The failure to respond to the Covid housing crisis has created an eviction catastrophe for vulnerable renters

A protest in front of the Jackson Courthouse by advocacy group KC Tenants against continued evictions during the pandemic. Photo: Brandon Frederick

It’s a Thursday morning in July at the Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City, Missouri and Judge Mary Weir is running one of four landlord-tenant dockets processing housing cases — usually landlords seeking to evict their tenants. These state courtrooms, which typically try cases involving payday lenders and financial companies, move fast. Advocates defending renters describe them as assembly lines, and Judge Weir isn’t in the mood to wait.

“It is now 9:30 a.m., this is a landlord-tenant docket,” she says. “Folks, if you’re on the phone as a defendant, you should know you do have the right to…


The pandemic may have accelerated migration from urban centers, but neighborhoods are keeping city life alive.

Cheering a crowd of protestors from a stoop in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images.

It pained Lynette Morrow that she was considering leaving Manhattan for the suburbs. But then again, nothing felt like it did before. “It’s not going back to normal,” she told the New York Times. “This is now going to be normal.” Mariam Zadeh, also from Morrow’s neighborhood of Battery Park City, felt the same way. “We love Manhattan and will continue to love Manhattan,” she said. “Maybe one day we will return. But for the near future, I can’t envision living down there.” …

Patrick Sisson

A Chicago expat living in Los Angeles, Patrick Sisson writes about the intersection of cities, business, and culture.

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