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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Smartphones are chock-full of apps that can hail anything from rides to meals to toiletries — and this digital revolution comes with a physical footprint that is changing the way cities look and function.

Why it matters: To support the new consumer lifestyle, companies are choking cities with cars, bikes and warehouses. The technology that makes it possible for urban dwellers to summon everything in an instant clearly comes with still-unknown costs.

"In a major city, you don't really have to leave the house," says Richard Florida, an urban studies scholar at the University of Toronto. But all of those delivery and ride-hailing services "add pressure on cities in terms of traffic congestion and power use that people aren't thinking about."

What's happening:

  • A staggering stat: More than 1.5 million packages are delivered in New York City every day.
  • Per CBRE, a commercial real estate company, demand for smaller warehouses that are closer to cities is rapidly outpacing demand for big properties in more remote parts of the country.
  • Uber and Lyft have admitted their cars are making traffic worse.
  • Restaurants are adding virtual outposts, which are kitchens — without waiters or tables — that exist solely to prepare orders for delivery, per the New York Times.
  • Grocery stores are doing the same, reports CNN Business. Walmart, Albertsons, Stop & Shop and others are propping up "dark stores" that are closed to shoppers and just serve to fulfill online orders.
"If you think about what made cities great, it was the local shops, the bookstore, the coffee place, the bars. All of those places that created human energy are disappearing. Cities are becoming ever-more anonymous, and they're starting to look like suburbs, with people isolated in their spaces."
— Richard Florida

What to watch: Emerging technologies will only accelerate the transformation of cities.

  • Researchers are working to develop "picker robots," which would let e-commerce outfits like Amazon and Walmart build smaller, denser warehouses without any humans, Axios' Kaveh Waddell notes.
  • If companies start using drones to deliver packages, they will need even more warehouses near big cities, since drones can only fly limited distances.

Go deeper: The climate stakes of speedy delivery

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 19 mins ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump’s friends worry legal pick for N.Y. case lacks experience

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Close associates and advisers to Donald Trump tell Axios they're concerned by his decision to use a relatively inexperienced New Jersey attorney, Alina Habba, in his high-stakes legal fight against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why it matters: A former president typically has access to the country's most prestigious experts, including lawyers. Trump has turned to the former general counsel for a parking garage company, who works from a small law office near his Bedminster, N.J., country club.