Silicon Valley wants to rethink city life

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CarnegieLibrary-MarkSchierbecker.jpg
The Carnegie Library in Washington DC's Mount Vernon Square,
which Apple will convert into one of its "town squares."
Photo by Mark Schierbecker

Tech companies are disrupting city life in all sorts of ways, from AirBnB to ridesharing and food delivery to self-driving cars. And cities are impacting tech. DnA talks to CityLab's Kriston Capps about the latest developments.

Apple announced last week that its stores will be rebranded as "town squares," in which the public can gather in "plazas," browse new products on their "avenues" and take classes in their "forums."

Why is Apple borrowing the language of city planning? And should they be setting up shop in hallowed architectural buildings, like Washington DC's Carnegie Library?

The announcement of a vending machine startup Bodega ignited cries of racism and tone-deafness. Is a vending machine that uses facial recognition software to predict your purchases anti-urban? And why does Silicon Valley produce so many apps that serve young bachelors?

And while Amazon promises to breathe new life into the city that wins the bid to host its second headquarters, is the company's online retail business sucking the life out of Main Street? And do Apple's "town squares" bring the customers back?