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The End of the American Chinatown

February 4, 2019 LOS ANGELES—As a new immigrant to the United States, Li Zhong Huang knew there was only one place he wanted to live: the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he could be surrounded by language, food, and people from his home province of Guangdong. In 2001, he found an apartment...

When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home

November 15, 2018 Vicky Warren feels like she’s been attacked from all sides lately. Across the street from her rental apartment in the working-class Los Angeles County city of Hawthorne, noisy planes take off and land at all hours, diverted to the local municipal airport from wealthier Santa Monica, where neighbor complaints have...

The Homeless Can’t Escape San Francisco’s Smoke-Ridden Air

November 14, 2018 The deadliest fire in California’s history continues to burn, and San Francisco is filled with smoke and ash. On Tuesday, for the fifth day in a row, air throughout Northern California contained high amounts of fine-particulate-matter pollution, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District warned that the air was...

Tech Billionaires’ Obligation to the Cities Around Them

November 5, 2018 For decades, technology entrepreneurs have established their headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, created products that changed the way we live, and reaped millions doing so. But at the same time, the cities around these companies have become harder and harder to live in. Housing prices and homelessness are...

Tech Billionaires’ Obligation to the Cities Around Them

November 5, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For decades, technology entrepreneurs have established their headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, created products that changed the way we live, and reaped millions doing so. But at the same time, the cities around these companies have become harder and harder to live in. Housing prices and homelessness are...

The Amazon Selling Machine

October 28, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow What if there were a company that knew what you wanted to buy before you did? What if it made shopping recommendations that tapped into your deepest desires? Better yet, what if it then made buying completely seamless? Would you ever stop shopping? Amazon shareholders may like the answers to...

The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’

September 2, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow You can buy almost any thing you want online—toothpaste, books, plastic devices that allow you to lick your cat. On digital work platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com, you can also buy nearly any service—often from someone halfway around the world, sometimes for just a few bucks. On Fiverr, one...

Can Philanthropy Save a City?

August 4, 2018 STOCKTON, Calif.—The philanthropists came on air-conditioned buses from big cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. They were driven past vacant lots overrun with weeds, auto-repair shops and fast-food restaurants and meat markets, and deposited at a construction site that had once held a liquor store that police had long...

Despite the Glitches, Shoppers Can’t Quit Amazon

July 18, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The promotions started more than a week ahead of time: Amazon, the world’s biggest e-commerce site, was launching its annual Prime Day on July 16, with 30 hours of deals online and in Whole Foods markets. The company issued five press releases promoting Prime Day, during which shoppers who pay...

Trump’s Complaints About Amazon Have a Historical Precedent

April 2, 2018 In the early 1900s, Charlie Harger, a writer for this magazine, visited a small country store on “the frontier” to talk to its proprietor. (He did not mention, in the eight full pages of the story where exactly that small retailer was located, because that’s how journalism was done in...