📆 Heads up: Starting next week, Axios Cities will be coming to your inbox on Thursdays.
Today's edition is 1,759 words, a 6.5-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The city and county budget crisis is deepening.
Driving the news: Local governments were left out of the latest coronavirus relief package passed by Congress this week, despite mayors from across the country asking for $250 billion in direct aid to help cities continue to function as tax revenue plummets and coronavirus-mitigation costs skyrocket.
The latest: A bipartisan Senate bill proposes $500 billion in aid for state and local governments as part of the next comprehensive package.
The big picture: Local governments are required to balance their budgets and can't carry deficits, with a few exceptions.
Only municipalities with more than 500,000 residents can receive direct funding through last month's CARES Act package, which set aside $150 billion for local governments.
Zooming in: Ohio's major cities rely on earnings or income taxes, which have dropped precipitously in a matter of weeks.
Elsewhere, the financial strain is growing.
What's next: The financial strain comes as city budget officials are trying to set budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins in July for most municipalities.
The New York Times breaks it down in detail.
Greens are grown at Bowery Farming, a vertical farm in Kearny, New Jersey. Photo: Dan Emmert/AFP via Getty Images.
Indoor, urban vertical farms — which grow produce in warehouses with tightly controlled climate and light conditions — are seeing a surge in demand that could signal a lasting change in how we get our fruits and vegetables.
Why it matters: "People are more concerned about who is handling their food, where it's coming from, how many stops did it have before hitting the shelves," said Irving Fain, CEO of Bowery Farming.
The big picture: While the majority of people now live in cities, very little of our food is produced there.
Bowery has two farms in Kearny, New Jersey, near New York City. The company sells its leafy greens and herbs in stores in the tri-state area. It has opened a third farm outside Baltimore.
The other coast: Plenty grows leafy greens mixes, arugula and kale in an indoor vertical farm just outside San Francisco. CEO Matt Barnard said the company has more than doubled its shipments since the coronavirus outbreak began.
Reality check: Vertical farms won't be cropping up in every city anytime soon. They're expensive both to get up and running and to operate, with high energy costs in order to power thousands of LED lights and sophisticated ventilation systems.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Roommates may have a harder time mingling their separate lives under one roof and seeing eye to eye on how to stay safe than people who live with families or significant others, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports from San Francisco.
What they’re saying: “Before this, there were house rules about how people act in the house but now the house rules extend out — what I do outside the house affects my roommates,” Jeremy Conrad, a tech entrepreneur who lives with three friends in a large San Francisco house, told Axios.
“It’s definitely tested a lot of the theories around communal living and co-living,” says Starcity CEO Jon Dishotsky, whose company operates co-living buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles that mostly house young professionals — usually strangers coming together to live under one roof.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Some red-state governors say they plan to relax stay-at-home orders and other social distancing measures sooner rather than later, which could create or heighten conflicts with the mayors of some of their largest cities, Axios' Alayna Treene and Stef Kight report.
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Mayor Paul TenHaken issued a "safer at home" order in his city, which has a high share of the state's rising number of COVID-19 cases. But Gov. Kristi Noem has refused to enact a state-wide order. TenHaken and Noem are both Republicans.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced executive orders last week that will allow state parks and some businesses to open back up in phases, although schools will remain closed.
Steve Adler, the Democratic mayor of Austin, said he thinks Abbott’s reopening plans seem “reasonable,” but that he is eager to see “what are we doing to help mitigate and minimize that risk and measure what it is that's happening in our community.”
The big question is whether people will still want to ride scooters — or any shared vehicles, for that matter — after we emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.
What they're saying: On the one hand, plenty of transportation experts think scooter riders will think twice before picking one up after it's been handled by previous riders.
Lime's experience in South Korea could offer a glimpse of what will happen when we return to more typical travel patterns.
The bottom line: Transportation will look different in every city after we exit lockdowns, and how quickly people embrace shared and public transit modes will probably depend on how severe the outbreak has been in their areas.
Cover of the April issue of National Geographic. Courtesy/National Geographic.
1. The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day issue of National Geographic features two mini-magazines with starkly different visions of 2070 — one where we saved the planet and one where we lost it.
2. Rural Response to Coronavirus Could Be Hampered by Years of Population Loss (Pew Charitable Trusts)
3. The race to save homeless shelters (CityLab)
4. Milan announces ambitious scheme to reduce car use after lockdown (The Guardian)
5. The Inside Story of How the Bay Area Got Ahead of the COVID-19 Crisis (Kaiser Health News)
6. The global experiment of exiting lockdown (Axios)
Conservationists in Florida told CBS 12 that Leatherback sea turtles have been thriving during the lockdown measures. Photo: Mark Conlin/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Images
With half the world's population on lockdown, wild animals are roaming freely in cities and regions usually bustling with people, Axios' Rebecca Falconer writes.
Thanks for reading. Not yet a subscriber? Sign up here.