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State of the Art: 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 and pull every civic string.But let’s take a tour of recent news 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 it had approved unanimously last month as a way to address the city’s homelessness and housing-affordability crisis. Why the retreat? Many of the city’s businesses balked at the tax, including Amazon — and no one needed to remind Seattleites that Amazon is very publicly looking for a second city to plant its…

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Bird, the Electric Scooter Start-Up, Is Said to Draw an Investment Frenzy

SAN FRANCISCO — More scooters may soon land on America’s sidewalks as the West Coast scooter war propels a rush of fund-raising.Bird, an electric scooter start-up, is raising $300 million in new funding that would value the company at $2 billion, according to three people with knowledge of the financing, who asked not to be identified because the proceedings were confidential. The round is set to be led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and will include other investors such as Accel Partners, the people said.The financing would cap one of the fastest and largest start-up fund-raising frenzies in recent memory. Last month, Bird began…

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The Shift: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Electric Scooters

In fact, the only scary scooter rides I had were the times that cars veered a little too close to the bike lane I was riding in. If cities want to encourage safe scooter riding — and they should, given the benefits they have for congestion and environmental health — they should create protected scooter lanes and encourage drivers to give them more room.2. Scooters are cluttering sidewalks, roads and other public spaces.This anti-scooter case was made most memorably by a columnist at The Los Angeles Times who complained that “these electric scooters are everywhere — roads, sidewalks, street corners, parking lots, boardwalks, apartment complex hallways —…

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