Hello from the Smart City Expo in Atlanta, where I'll be moderating a discussion about 5G in a few hours. Drop me a line if you're here, too!
America is more racially diverse than at any point in history, and racial minorities are becoming more geographically dispersed than ever before.
Why it matters: Even before the 2020 Census gets underway, recent population data makes it quite clear that rapidly expanding diversity will be the overarching theme of this century's demographic shift.
What's happening: Nationally, Hispanics and Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial minority groups, increasing by 18.6% and 27.4%, respectively, between 2010 and 2018, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution demographer Bill Frey, whose 2018 book "Diversity Explosion" outlined the country's majority-minority future.
Meanwhile: The nation's white population has grown only 0.1% since 2010 and is projected to decline over the next decade.
"In the next 5–6 years, we're going to see an actual decline in white population," Frey told Axios, noting the shrinking share of the white population since 2000 among children under the age of 18. "In the next 10 years or so, the 20-something population will become minority white. It's happening from the bottom up of the age structure."
Between the lines: The white population's declining slice of the population pie is widely blamed for the rise of white nationalist extremism and anti-immigrant sentiment. But the demographics also show that diversity and immigration are key to future U.S. economic growth.
The bottom line: The country's rapidly changing racial makeup is exposing a growing cultural gap between generations.
Go deeper: Six maps that reveal America's expanding diversity (Brookings Institution)
Immigration is a significant driver of population growth in the country's most successful cities, according to an analysis released today by the Economic Innovation Group.
Why it matters: "Without the contribution of immigrants, metro areas like Miami, San Jose, and New York would have lost population from 2017 to 2018 at a rate double that of metro areas such as Pittsburgh and Cleveland and triple that of metro areas such as Milwaukee and St. Louis," per EIG's report.
If international migration was more evenly distributed throughout the country, declining areas such as Detroit and Buffalo would be able to offset domestic population losses.
Minorities and immigrants alike are already moving away from the typical "melting pot" metro areas and into smaller (often struggling) cities to take advantage of lower costs of living and open jobs.
What it means for cities: Increasing diversity means city leaders will have to prioritize "deep and meaningful community engagement as part of the public policy process," said Christina Stacy, senior research associate at the Urban Institute.
Go deeper: Why is San Jose growing while Cleveland shrinks? (Economic Innovation Group)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Mayors from across the country aren't waiting on Washington to take action to rein in gun violence.
Driving the news: This week, a dozen mayors from both parties met with White House officials and senate leaders to urge action on background check legislation.
Kansas City, Missouri: Last week the city council approved 2 gun ordinances introduced by new Mayor Quinton Lucas to help combat violent crime.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Mayor Bill Peduto and the city council recently passed a set of ordinances, such as banning high-capacity magazines. The NRA quickly sued to block them.
Columbia, South Carolina: Mayor Steve Benjamin and the city council became the first in the country to pass an ordinance banning the use of bump stocks and trigger cranks.
Toledo, Ohio: Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz outlined in an op-ed that Toledo will be adopting a policy to only purchase guns and ammunition for law enforcement from responsible manufacturers.
San Jose, California: Mayor Sam Liccardo has proposed liability insurance for gun owners, but it has not yet been passed by the city council.
Cincinnati, Ohio: A law banning bump stocks was overturned by the courts for violating state law, which prevents local jurisdictions from enacting their own ordinances, as explained by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley in an op-ed.
The bottom line: Despite increased skepticism and distrust of Washington and statehouses, most Americans have a higher level of trust in their local leaders.
A package-delivery drone gets a practice run before the grand opening of Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. Photo: Kim Hart/Axios.
PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. — In a town about 20 miles northeast of Atlanta, high school students direct 2 tiny drones, each holding opposite ends of a red ribbon, to hover above the start of an autonomous vehicle test track.
Driving the news: The cutting of that ribbon on Wednesday marked the grand opening of Curiosity Lab, a publicly funded "living lab" designed to provide a testing ground for smart-city, mobility and "internet of things" technologies in a real-world environment.
Why it matters: It's all paid for by Peachtree Corners, a 7-year-old city that's home to about 45,000 people, as an economic development initiative. Curiosity Lab is an independent nonprofit that sits at the center of the city's 500-acre tech park.
Details: Sprint has installed wireless 5G service along the 1.5-mile test track. Georgia Power installed a light pole equipped with a video surveillance camera. Autonodyne installed a "mailbox" landing pad for drone deliveries.
The big picture: Peachtree Corners' biggest advantage, according to city manager Brian Johnson, is that it owns all the infrastructure. That means companies wanting access to it doesn't have to deal with multiple jurisdictions and red tape to test prototypes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The big picture: Accuracy problems arise when a facial recognition system is trained on a dataset of mostly white and male faces. And they're amplified by mugshot databases where people of color are disproportionately represented, making for more possible mismatches.
What to watch: The National Institute of Standards and Technology's report on demographic dependencies in facial recognition will be out this fall.
Alexandra Hamatie, whose cousin Robert Horohoe was killed on Sept. 11, pauses at the National 9/11 Memorial during a morning commemoration ceremony for the victims of the terrorist attacks 18 years ago. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
U.S. transit use continues to decline. Not so in France. (Yonah Freemark — The Transport Politic)
The cities where job growth is outpacing new homes (Sarah Holder — CityLab)
This radical plan would see the U.S. build 12 million new units of social housing (Jessica Klein — Fast Company)
Local newspapers are suffering, but they’re still (by far) the most significant journalism producers in their communities (Philip Napoli & Jessica Mahone — NiemanLab)
Last-minute AB5 amendment empowers city attorney to sue Uber for labor violations (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez — San Francisco Examiner)
Uber has troves of data on how people navigate cities. Will urban planners ever get it? (Grace Dobush — Marker)
A pothole on a California road. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
Frustrated that their local governments aren't reliably maintaining streets, fixing potholes and policing traffic violations, residents are taking matters into their own hands.
Police and public works departments frown on DIY solutions to road issues — and it's often illegal without a permit. But vigilante acts do get the attention of local authorities and usually end up prompting action to fix the problem.
See you next week!