Paris unclogs its sewers with giant balls of iron

Though it's been around since the Middle Ages, the sewer system beneath Paris won fame in the 19th century, when the city offered boat tours through the tunnels. This is also when an ingenious method for cleaning clogged tunnels was devised. It involves giant balls of iron and a lot of velocity. » 9/22/14 4:44pm Yesterday 4:44pm

Hipsters, Hipsters, and Hipsters: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Maybe it's the time of year. Maybe it's the weather? But people are extra cranky this week about fixie bikes and craft brews invading their cities. There's a definite anti-hipster vibe in the air, and it's global, from Portland, to Los Angeles, to London, to Iceland. What's Ruining Our Cities? HIPSTERS. » 9/21/14 2:00pm Sunday 2:00pm

So This Is How You Move a Neighborhood of Houses Across San Francisco

San Francisco's current tech-led boom has seen slick new housing high-rises pop up all across the grid, but Bay Area urban renewal in the 1970s had a very different look. Photographer Dave Glass is a native of the city's Western Addition, and snapped these images of Victorians being driven around town like massive… » 9/20/14 10:00am Saturday 10:00am

These Five Ideas for Smarter Cities Just Won Millions in Funding

Ever since he left his post as the ban-happy mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg has been very busy taking his urban revitalization show on the road. Today, his philanthropy announced the winners of his annual Mayors Challenge, with five bright ideas for cities addressing issues from aging to civic engagement. » 9/19/14 4:20pm Friday 4:20pm

Shenzhen's Towering City Within a City Will Battle a Tide of Smog

A few years ago, you'd probably never heard of Shenzhen. Now the tiny Chinese fishing village has grown into a certified megalopolis, with 10 million residents, a thriving tech industry, and a gorgeous world-class airport. To cement its rising status in the world economy, Shenzhen has announced its most ambitious… » 9/18/14 11:55am Thursday 11:55am

The First Driverless Transit System in the U.S. Starts Rolling in 2017

Since 2011, Honolulu's been busy building a $5.2 billion solution to help alleviate the mind-blowing traffic congestion that's come to define life on Oahu's South Shore. The Honolulu Rail Transit Project is a 20-mile, 21-station elevated train—and it will be the first completely driverless rail system in the U.S. » 9/17/14 5:35pm Wednesday 5:35pm

Amazon's Using the Heat From Its Data Centers To Warm Its New HQ

Downtown Seattle is being slowly consumed by Amazon-funded infrastructure, thanks to the expansion of its corporate headquarters—glass domes, bike lanes, streetcar improvements. Now the company has figured out an innovative way to heat their new buildings by using the energy generated by their data centers across the… » 9/16/14 8:10pm 9/16/14 8:10pm

Waiting for 'Don't Walk' Signs Is More Fun When the Stick Figure Dances

At first glance it seems like just another fun art project, but this dancing traffic light can actually vastly improve safety wherever it's installed. Because people waiting for a 'don't walk' sign to change to 'walk' are far more likely to stick it out when they're distracted and entertained, rather than just try and… » 9/16/14 5:10pm 9/16/14 5:10pm

This New Parking App Can Find Empty Spaces, No Sensors Required

Parking sucks, and that's why there are plenty of apps to help your car find a vacant spot. Trouble is, those solutions tend to require expensive sensors to be installed in each and every one of those potentially open spots. A new app called PocketParker instead leverages the power of passive, portable sensors—the… » 9/16/14 4:15pm 9/16/14 4:15pm

These Photos of an Empty City at Night Will Haunt Me Forever

If you find yourself wander a strange city in the middle of the night, something is probably wrong. But if you stop and take all in, the urban landscape is somewhat surreal at night, when all of the people are sleeping. Photographer Paul Puiia captured that uncanny feeling so well, I don't think I'll ever look at… » 9/16/14 3:56pm 9/16/14 3:56pm

Flooding, Anti-Vaxxers, Museums: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Flooding in Pakistan has stranded hundreds of thousands of people, an anti-vaccination movement trending in L.A.'s most affluent neighborhoods is causing a whooping cough epidemic, and one broken air conditioner could destroy Rome's most priceless art. Hope you're comfortable, this week's What's Ruining Our Cities is… » 9/14/14 3:00pm 9/14/14 3:00pm

Toyota's New Transit Idea Is Like a Bikeshare for Tiny Electric Cars

Small, weird-looking smartcars are nothing new; there are plenty of them on the road, especially in cities where space is at a premium. But Toyota has launched something that makes great use of its zippy 3-wheeled i-Road vehicles: a new car-sharing service that integrates with a city's existing transit system. » 9/12/14 4:32pm 9/12/14 4:32pm

4 Futuristic Designs for DC's Very Own High Line

Not to be outdone by New York City's beloved High Line (the final, most unwieldy phase of which opens this fall), Washington DC is planning its own elevated park, which will sail over the Anacostia River on a former freeway bridge. Four visions for the park have been released as part of a competition. And they're all… » 9/12/14 9:00am 9/12/14 9:00am

14 Underground Structures That Expose the World Beneath Our Feet

From filthy punk clubs to pristine public transport, there's a heck of a lot going on under our cities. Underground: The Spectacle of the Invisible at Zurich's Museum of Design goes deep into the different types of urban infrastructure that have been built up down below, and the different reasons that being… » 9/10/14 9:00am 9/10/14 9:00am

Why Scientists Dig Trenches To Find Hidden Fault Lines in Cities

Thanks to our asphalt-giddy behavior, we've all but paved over the fault lines that zigzag through some of our riskiest seismic zones. A new video shows how a team of geologists and engineers in LA have been digging a hole to find the exact location of a fault which could prove to be especially destructive. » 9/08/14 8:30pm 9/08/14 8:30pm

Japan's Spending $5 Billion to Fast Track Maglev Trains in the US

Come on guys. It's just 40 miles. We'll even go halfsies with you. Except, in this case, "halfsies" still amounts to $5 billion. Japan, in an effort to help DC build a maglev train that would cut travel time to Baltimore down to 15 minutes, is offering up half the cash to do it. The question is: Does that make the… » 9/08/14 5:44pm 9/08/14 5:44pm

Helsinki Blasted Out an Underground Lake To Water-Cool Its Buildings

If you've visited Helsinki, you've probably spent time in its leafy Esplanade Park at the center of the city. Now Helsinki has turned the ground below the park into a subterranean lake which can keep buildings and other civic operations cool as part of a growing network that replaces traditional air conditioning… » 9/08/14 1:34pm 9/08/14 1:34pm