Keeping Bike Shares Running Smoothly Requires Seriously Complex Math

Here's kind of a dirty secret about bike share: Bikes don't end up distributed evenly across the system, so most cities use trucks and trailers to shuffle the bikes around to the kiosks where they're needed most at different times of day. Turns out it requires a complicated algorithm to determine exactly when and… » 8/27/14 7:15pm Wednesday 7:15pm

The City Pipes and Stairways That Get Left Behind and Lead to Nowhere

Cities, like living things, evolve slowly over time. Buildings and structures get added and renovated and removed, and in this process, bits and pieces that get left behind. Vestiges. Just as humans have tailbones and whales have pelvic bones, cities have doors that open into a limb-breaking drop, segments of… » 8/27/14 1:40pm Wednesday 1:40pm

Rich People Are Trucking Their Own Water Into Drought-Ridden California

Although 81 percent of the state is experiencing an "extreme drought," for many parts of California there is no apparent water shortage. Visit the highest-income neighborhoods and you'll see lush lawns and sparkling fountains defiantly sucking our lifeblood from the Earth. Apparently, the rich will do whatever it… » 8/26/14 6:41pm Tuesday 6:41pm

The Overgrown, Disused Railway That Still Runs Around Paris

Paris has a lot of history embedded in its sprawling urban grid, which has seen thousands of years of structural change. But even though space is at a premium, there are still spots that have evaded development and slowly drifted into obscurity. When photographer Pierre Folk was new to the city, he happened upon… » 8/26/14 5:19pm Tuesday 5:19pm

Remembering the Designer Who Made Our Cities More Colorful

The graphic designer Deborah Sussman died at the age of 83 this week, leaving behind a technicolor legacy. She was perhaps most famous for designing the graphics and signage for the 1984 Summer Olympics, which transformed Los Angeles into a dazzling playground of magenta and teal. But Sussman also left her mark on… » 8/22/14 9:57am 8/22/14 9:57am

9 Images of How Kids Played Before Modern Playgrounds Existed

"Playground." The word evokes visions of brightly colored jungle gyms and swing-sets, fenced-off or otherwise protected from dangers of the surrounding real world. But before these kinds of site-specific joy zones, kids kept busy: Playing. On the ground. " Reinventing the Square" is an exhibition that looks at the… » 8/22/14 9:00am 8/22/14 9:00am

Our Hot, Bright Cities Are Spawning Gigantic Spiders

File this one under: Oh HELL no. While we know that our ever-industrializing lifestyles make survival tough for animals like birds and mountain lions, in at least one case urbanization is helping a species to thrive. Thanks to the artificial conditions we create, our cities are growing ultrafertile megaspiders. » 8/20/14 4:15pm 8/20/14 4:15pm

Ferguson Police Will Finally Get the One Device They Really Need

In a statement today, Ferguson's police department announced that it is committed to buying vest cameras for its officers. When it finally happens, it'll be a great first step. And it'll happen even faster if we ditch the bloated, expensive wearable cam tech cops use today for something accessible to every U.S.… » 8/19/14 4:19pm 8/19/14 4:19pm

The World's Most Expensive Hallway Is Under New York City

The exorbitant costs of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub have been well-reported: the station cost $4 BILLION DOLLARS. New Yorkers can already experience one element of the pricey hub, a walkway under West Street. And if calculations are correct, this 600-foot corridor is the most expensive hallway on the… » 8/19/14 1:06pm 8/19/14 1:06pm

Watch How Bolivia Built the World's Longest Urban Cable Car System

In most parts of the world, cable cars are relegated to ski areas or amusement parks. But in South America, cities use the gondolas to navigate undulating terrain as public transportation. This fall, two more lines will open in Bolivia's La Paz-El Alto network, making it the longest urban cable car system in the world. » 8/18/14 12:51pm 8/18/14 12:51pm