Economics/Class Relations

Welcome to the ‘metroburbs’

April 14, 2023
Hello, Insiders. This is Lisa Ryan, an executive editor at Insider. If you watched “Severance” on Apple TV+, then you’ve seen the former New Jersey headquarters of Bell Labs. In the series, it serves as the site of Lumon Industries — but in real life, the 2 million-square-foot office building has been transformed into a “metroburb.”


Today’s big story dives into the revival of these sprawling suburban corporate campuses of the past and why they could become the offices of the future.


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What’s going on

  • Record rain is flooding parts of Florida. Photos show how Fort Lauderdale has been turned into a lake, as some areas are seeing more than 25 inches of rain.
  • The police arrested Nima Momeni on a charge of fatally stabbing the Cash App creator, Bob Lee. San Francisco’s district attorney said there’s evidence that the 38-year-old knew Lee.
  • The big banks kicked off earnings season today. JPMorgan blew past earnings estimates for the first quarter, reporting record revenue thanks to income generated by higher interest rates. Our Wall Street newsletter breaks down what to know.


Somerset Development
Some new offices are mini towns with their own restaurants, doctor offices, and hotels. And workers actually want to go.

Bell Labs closed its doors in 2007. Now, the New Jersey campus is home to Bell Works, which houses dozens of different office tenants along with a bar, a Montessori school, and even a public indoor basketball court. Over in suburban Chicago, the 150-acre former AT&T headquarters got the same treatment.

As Insider’s Alex Nicoll reports, these megaprojects are getting fresh attention.

A highly amenitized office was already desirable before the pandemic — think of the high demand for WeWork’s community-centric office spaces — but the current struggle between office workers at home and their bosses in the office has made it even more so.

“It seems to all come back to a more modern approach to work-life balance,” an executive of a company renting out space at Bell Works told Insider, “knowing that an employee’s happiness and experience sometimes extends beyond 9-to-5 and the walls of our building.”


Ukraine & more

Annie Fu/Insider


  • The ‘meat grinder’ in Ukraine. A new timelapse shows Russian forces slowly closing in on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, in what is considered the longest and bloodiest battle in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Take a look.
  • Countries where workers get a full month off. The US is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation and holidays for workers — but it’s different in many European countries and other parts of the world. See the full list.
  • “I’m a millennial who’s quitting my job because I’m overworked and underpaid.” A Seattle meat cutter is part of a growing movement among young men without college degrees who are fleeing the workforce. Read more.
  • Bytedance, the creator of TikTok, has a new app, and it’s already gaining traction. The viral success of Lemon8 shows how pointless a TikTok ban would be, Insider’s Paayal Zaveri writes. What experts are saying.
  • Legal pot sales have eclipsed sales of chocolate in the US. If trends continue, legalized sales of recreational cannabis could top $33 billion – more than chocolate and craft beer combined. More here.
  • Companies can’t do layoffs right because they’re trying to act like “cool parents.” Poorly managed layoffs point to a broader decline in leadership, an associate professor told Insider. Managers are failing to set boundaries to be loved — and it’s sending workers reeling. Read more.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that $6 billion in student-debt relief for 200,000 borrowers can move forward. The relief is part of a settlement from a lawsuit filed in 2019 by borrowers who said they were defrauded by the school they attended. Read the full story.

3D-printed Mars

REUTERS/Go Nakamura
See inside NASA’s 3D-printed Mars habitat where four volunteers could live for a year. NASA is preparing to launch humans to Mars in the 2030s, so it’s created a 1,700-square-foot structure to give a crew some practice for various activities like spacewalks and robotics operations. The habitat includes a gym, a PlayStation 3, and a lot of red sand.

How Real Is It?

A capoeira master rates nine capoeira scenes in movies and TV. Amen Santo, a capoeria practitioner, breaks down common capoeira strikes, kicks, and defense tactics in “Black Panther,” “The Batman,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” and more.

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This edition was curated by Lisa Ryan, and edited by Dave Smith, Hallam Bullock, Jensen Rubinstein, Max Adams, and Jack Robert Stacey. Get in touch:

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