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Metropolis

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

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…


Number Crunch

The housing market in second-tier cities is heating up

A Number Crunch logo alongside the text “43% The increase in home prices in Detroit over the past three months. Source: Bloomberg Businessweek” next to an illustration of two houses on a pink background.
A Number Crunch logo alongside the text “43% The increase in home prices in Detroit over the past three months. Source: Bloomberg Businessweek” next to an illustration of two houses on a pink background.

43%: That’s the increase in home prices in Detroit’s urban neighborhoods over the past three months—nearly four times the rate of less densely populated areas, according to an analysis of Redfin data by Bloomberg Businessweek. The urban housing market is booming nationwide, with prices rising 15% in the same time period. Real estate prices in densely populated areas are rising slightly faster than those in suburbia.

That’s a shift from between May and December of last year, when urban home prices were consistently lagging behind their suburban counterparts as many Americans deserted cities with a high cost of living, like…


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.

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…


NUMBER OF THE DAY

Business relocations to the Texas capital spur job growth

10,000: That’s how many new jobs the businesses that relocated to Austin, Texas, this year are expected to bring to the city, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That figure was estimated before software company Oracle announced on Friday that it was shifting its headquarters from Silicon Valley to the Texas capital. Earlier last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also announced his move to Austin, following an earlier announcement that Tesla would build a factory outside the city. …


The furniture giant is betting not only on customers returning to physical stores, but to cities, as well

One of the biggest winners in our virus-induced straits is the home improvement industry: Folks are fixing up their bathrooms, adding on rooms, and installing elaborate patios, pools, and gyms. The suburban real estate boom has added fuel to the fire, as a rush of urbanites relocate to homes with grassy spaces. These trends have had a gigantic upside for businesses like Wayfair, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.

Not so much for Ikea, the Swedish-based furniture chain. For decades, Ikea was the go-to store for the masses with empty rooms to fill, or life-stages to adapt to. And with its low-priced…


From airlines to Starbucks, a massive part of our economy hinges on white-collar workers returning to the office

For a decade, Carlos Silva has been gluing, nailing, and re-zippering shoes and boots at Stern Shoe Repair, a usually well-trafficked shop just outside the Metro entrance at Union Station in Washington, D.C. On a typical day, he would arrive at 7 a.m. and stay until 8 p.m., serving the crowds of professionals shuttling by on their way to work. But since the near-shutdown of office work and train travel, he has been closing the shop at 4 p.m. “There is no traffic, my friend. The whole station is dead,” says Silva. “Now it’s only a part-time job.”

In the…


Companies are dying faster than ever but these cities may offer the key to survival

Co-authored with Mathew Chow

Organizations have long been engineered like fine-tuned machines: They allocate processes and resources (sometimes human) into specializations, each churning and passing their output to the next group. This efficiency allowed companies to scale, prevent competitors from entering the market, and dominate their industries. In turn, this growth meant even greater efficiency, resulting in tighter interdependence and connection between the machine’s parts.

In today’s business world, technology has made innovation and disruption constant. Businesses must quickly and easily adapt to succeed. …

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