Happy Wednesday! Hope you're having a decent back-to-school/work/life week so far.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios
College towns are emerging as economic powerhouses, thanks to their outsized share of the young, highly educated workers who are in such high demand.
The big picture: Major universities — particularly research institutions and those affiliated with nearby medical centers — employ tens of thousands of people and spend billions annually.
By the numbers: College-centric towns are well-positioned to see 11% employment growth over the next decade by leveraging their well-educated worker pools in STEM, health care and creative jobs, according to a recent McKinsey Global Institute study.
And now, instead of leaving for bigger cities right after graduation, a growing number of grads start businesses and hire people, creating new feedback loops of investment and driving more amenities that attract other talent to the area.
That growing entrepreneurial ecosystem is relatively new for college towns, which historically haven't given much thought to economic development.
"20 years ago, if you wanted to start a business, capital was king. Now talent is king. Having those connections to that constant feedstock of graduates is very attractive to industries. It means certain areas that are a little farther from metro areas can carve out a niche."— Scott Andes, National League of Cities
Yes, but: College towns still struggle to attract venture capital funding to spur high-growth companies to keep startups from leaving. And despite relatively low costs of living, these towns tend to have higher-than-average poverty rates.
What's next: Midsize post-industrial cities are increasingly leaning on universities and medical centers —"eds and meds" — to replace dwindling manufacturing jobs.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
About 1.5 million Floridians have moved inland to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Dorian. Such evacuations can be perilous — but in the future, networks of automated vehicles could help shuttle people out of harm's way more efficiently, Axios' Joann Muller and I report.
What to watch: Florida's population is projected to increase by 6 million people, to 26 million, by 2030, with much of the growth in vulnerable coastal regions.
AVs might help make evacuations more efficient, former Florida emergency management chief Bryan Koon, now a vice president at disaster consulting firm IEM, wrote in a 2018 blog post.
But, but, but: As people give up their cars in favor of ride-hailing, it's also possible there won't be enough vehicles to accommodate everyone who needs to flee in an emergency, Koon says.
The Washington, D.C., region already has a severe shortage of affordable housing, and that deficit will widen over the next 10 years, according to a new report out today from the Urban Institute.
Why it matters: The lack of affordable housing means many low-income families, especially renters, have high-cost burdens, live farther away from their jobs and have long commutes — or end up leaving the region altogether.
The big picture: The region needs 374,000 additional housing units by 2030, according to the economic growth rate projected by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Yes, but: Due to the high cost of development in the area, the market doesn't incentivize the creation of more lowest-cost housing units without significant subsidies. But it's unlikely that federal funding for public housing and vouchers will increase anytime soon.
What's next: Urban Institute researchers recommend that the local governments make targeted investments that preserve existing affordable housing units, while also incentivizing developers to build more in the low- and middle-cost ranges.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
HUD recently proposed a rule that would protect financial institutions from liability for using algorithms to make lending decisions, as long as the technology used was produced or distributed by a recognized company, Miriam Vogel writes for Axios Expert Voices.
Why it matters: AI can inadvertently rely on characteristics that include or are correlated with race, gender and socio-economic class, so under the proposed rule, financial institutions could make illegal determinations and hide behind an AI product.
How it works: Institutions may decide, for example, that unbanked individuals are less creditworthy, and using this factor in loan decisions could disadvantage people of color and women.
What to watch: If the HUD rule is enacted, algorithms could obscure the reason for a credit denial.
Average annual temperatures in Baltimore have gone up more than 3 degrees over the last century — nearly twice as much as the rest of the country — and this summer's sweltering temperatures disproportionately affected the city's poorer neighborhoods.
It's not just Baltimore: The urban poor in large cities across the country will experience more heat than the wealthy as the urban heat island effect intensifies.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
College students may soon have to share their campus sidewalks with thousands of 6-wheeled robots ready to deliver their dinners, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
Driving the news: Food delivery company Starship Technologies announced plans in late August to deploy cooler-sized, self-driving robots to 100 U.S. college campuses by 2022.
Yes, but: Food service jobs are a staple in college towns. 43% of students in college full-time had a job in 2017.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios
America's worker deserts☝️(Courtenay Brown — Axios)
How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich (Jesse Drucker & Eric Lipton — NY Times)
The changing face of first-time homebuyers (Linda Poon — CityLab)
Could bicycles help save the planet and improve our cities? (Thor Hogan — Washington Post)
A commuter rides an e-scooter on the sidewalk in Los Angeles. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
City officials in Miami told electric scooter companies that they had until last Friday to make sure all of their scooters were pulled off the streets, CNBC reports. The city warned that the dockless vehicles could become projectiles when Hurricane Dorian hit Florida this week.
Why it matters: Scooter companies have mostly responded quickly and judiciously to the city’s request. The safety of their riders and the protection of their inventory depends on it, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Our thought bubble: The average dockless e-scooter weighs around 30 pounds. It makes sense that cities would want to limit the possibility of hurricane winds flinging those heavy vehicles into the air.