Delivery apps make ordering food easier and cheaper for consumers, but it costs the workers. By offloading the costs of actually delivering food onto labour the app companies like Uber have few expenses they need to cover, thus the appeal to investors. For the first wave of food delivery apps the companies used venture capital to pay delivery workers, but that money ran out and the rates workers were paid decreased.
Now, around the world, delivery workers are fighting back and organizing. In New York City there’s been a massive effort by delivery workers to help each other in more ways than campaigning against the app companies.
Workers developed the whole system â€” the bikes, repair networks, shelters, charging stations â€” because they had to. To the apps, they are independent contractors; to restaurants, they are emissaries of the apps; to customers, they represent the restaurants. In reality, the workers are on their own, often without even the minimum in government support. As contractors and, often, undocumented immigrants, they have few protections and virtually no safety net. The few times city authorities noted the delivery workerâ€™s changing role, it was typically with confused hostility. Until recently, throttle-powered electric bikes like the Arrow were illegal to ride, though not to own. Mayor de Blasio heightened enforcement in 2017, calling the bikes â€œa real dangerâ€ after an Upper West Side investment banker clocked workers with a speed gun and complained to him on The Brian Lehrer Show.
With inequality increasing throughout the world she jurisdictions are fighting back by raising the minimum wage. Business owners must pay employees at least the minimum wage set by the government, no matter how little they want to actually pay people. Minimum wage increases were rare for the first years of this century so it’s good to see places like New York raise theirs. An added bonus of the recent wage increase is that business have seen revenue gains similar to that of the workers.
The focus on single restaurants also ignores the larger economic impact of raising the minimum wage. According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, if low-wage workers have more money in their pockets, they will have more money to spend, potentially expanding the number of consumers who can afford to eat out.
In fact, some people â€” including those from the Economic Policy Institute â€” have posited that a minimum-wage increase will actually lead to an increase in employment because of the effects of giving low-wage workers a raise. Other advantages to restaurants may include lower turnover rates and better job performance.
The climate crisis requires solutions at all levels and that includes the streets. Safe streets for pedestrians and cyclists ensures that more people will use sustainable transit (and not drive polluting cars). New York City has earned a reputation for redesigning their streetscape to be for people instead of cars, which has been praised here on this site and elsewhere. This reputation was fostered under the previous mayor and now the new mayor, Bill De Blasio, isn’t living up to his predecessor’s urban design philosophy. We can’t ignore that the debate has moved from just needing bike lanes to needing safe bike lanes – New York City is still ahead of other cities. Let’s hope all cities can have more elevated debates about safe transit infrastructure.
Letâ€™s stand back and look at whatâ€™s going on. The problem is the absence of an infrastructure that gives bikers, pedestrians, and even delivery trucks what they need so they donâ€™t go to war against each other for the rat-infested crumbs ofÂ asphalt the city has them fighting over.Â Cyclists need protected lanes and prioritized lights all over the city. Give that to them and they wonâ€™t swarm the sidewalks, they wonâ€™t drive the wrong way all the time, and they wonâ€™t go through intersections when they shouldnâ€™t. Give pedestrians the wide and safe sidewalks they need, the benches their weary legs desire, the trees that make shade in the summer, and calm streets in which the majority of space is devoted to the majority of people who are not in private cars. ThisÂ has been proven to work â€” itâ€™s not a risky leap, itâ€™s beenÂ ridiculously successful in cities across the world, particularly in Europe.
North Americans love cars and that love is literally killing us, and I don’t mean through car exhaust I mean by directly killing people. Over 60 people were needlessly killed by drivers in Toronto in 2018. This is obviously the fault of careless driving, but it’s also the result of a hundred years of pro-car policies (this includes everything from subsidies to the oil industry to high speed limits), which cities outside of North America are reversing.
It’s clear to urban planners and people who live in cities that the age of the car is coming to an end. This is really good life-saving news! Over at Outside there’s a piece comparing New York to how other cities are leading the charge to a pro-person transportation network.
London New Yorkers suffer from a bad case of exceptionalism; â€œThis isnâ€™t [insert lesser city here]!,â€ we cry whenever someone proposes a new idea. â€œThat shit ainâ€™t gonna fly in this town.â€ And yes, some of these other cities are somewhat diminutive compared to our mighty metropolis of over eight million people. But you canâ€™t say that about London, a fellow global powerÂ thatâ€™s equally huge in population and cultural and commercial clout. Sure, theyâ€™ve got theirÂ car-addled road ragersÂ just like we do, but theyâ€™ve also got cycling superhighways, motor-vehicle-congestion pricing, and soon, anÂ ultra-low emission zone. Here in New York, the best weâ€™ve come up with so far is â€œGridlock Alert Days,â€ which is basically a handful of days a year we politely ask people not to drive. Tokyo In New York City, space is at a premium, and this is some of the most expensive real estate in the countryâ€”yet we give away much of our curb space for private vehicle storage. This glut of cars has a seriously negative impact on our quality of life. Yet if I owned fifteen cars I could park them all out on the street for free, and while some might say I was simply exercising my rights as an American, what it really makes me is an asshole. But in Tokyo (another gigantic global power city), you canâ€™t even buy a car without showing proof that youâ€™ve secured a parking space for itâ€”andÂ you canâ€™t fake it either, because overnight parking is illegal.
There are many fans of oysters who eat them for their failure; however, I’m a fan of oysters because of what they eat. Back in 2011 we looked at the idea of using oysters to clean waters while harbouring other species – with the bonus impact that the oysters then get served at local restaurants. Since 2011 the concept has grown around New York City so much so that the oysters have basically saved the city from some effects of climate change. Go oysters!
Then, the oysters begin doing what oysters do â€” which, it turns out, is quite a lot. Oysters are natural water filters; each one cleans 30 to 50 gallons of water a day. They also provide food and shelter for all sorts of marine creatures, supporting biodiversity. “Oyster reefs provide great marine habitat, similar to coral reefs, with nooks and crannies to protect juvenile fish, and are active food for some species. They help to create a thriving ecosystem,” Wachtel says.
But the biggest draw for many coastal states such as New York, especially in an era of rising sea temperatures and eviscerating hurricanes, is that oysters can provide natural breakwaters. Oyster reefs can protect against a hurricane’s wave velocity, which can destroy a city’s infrastructure. The New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery has partnered with Billion Oyster Project to install oysters on its $74 million Living Breakwaters Project, which aims to reduce and reverse erosion and damage from storm waves, improve the ecosystem health of Raritan Bay and encourage environmentally conscious stewardship of nearshore waters.