You Can't Build a City Like a Startup: What the Downtown Project Missed

At the CityLab summit in LA yesterday—right about the time that Tony Hsieh's Downtown Project was supposedly laying off a third of its staff—I was having a conversation with a young, excitable urbanist who was heading to Vegas to see the Zappos CEO's $350 million instant neighborhood in the city's revitalized downtown… » 10/01/14 4:45pm Yesterday 4:45pm

This Century-Old Detroit Building Is Now the Cadillac of Office Spaces

The news that Cadillac is moving its Detroit headquarters to New York City delivered quite a blow to Detroit's ongoing rebirth. Especially considering Cadillac's advertising agency is a shining example of that rebirth: It's housed in a gorgeous new office in a salvaged 100-year-old building, proof that sticking it out… » 10/01/14 1:15pm Yesterday 1:15pm

Google and Microsoft Are Mapping Favelas So They Can Sell Things There

The twisting sidewalks and dizzying density of Brazil's favelas might deter most outsiders from navigating these crowded inner-city neighborhoods, which informally house about 1.5 million of the country's residents. Yet in the last few months, both Google and Microsoft have both been seen mapping their narrow streets… » 9/26/14 6:00pm Friday 6:00pm

These Mesmerizing Cityscapes Are Stitched Together From Dozens of Photos

No one ever lingers on their commute home—at least not on purpose. But photographer Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao has made a career of it by setting up his camera at the busiest, most recognizable places in the city and... waiting. Then, he stitches together dozens of shots into incredibly complex panoramas that capture hours… » 9/25/14 4:36pm 9/25/14 4:36pm

Why Sprawling LA Could Be Denser Than NYC in a Decade

By 2025, the biggest cities in the world will not only be bigger, but exceptionally denser. According to a new study, Hong Kong will be the densest megacity on the planet, almost twice as crowded as the runner up. And here in the U.S.—and this might be a real shocker—Los Angeles may be more dense than New York City. » 9/24/14 7:30pm 9/24/14 7:30pm

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 9/22/14 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 9/21/14 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 9/20/14 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 9/19/14 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 9/18/14 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 9/17/14 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