How Will Cities Change In The Dry, Dry Future?

Will cities in the future be re-designed to function "like sponges," to cope with droughts that will only become more severe thanks to climate change? » 1/24/15 10:17am 1/24/15 10:17am

Astrophysicists Find That Cities Grow Just Like Galaxies 

We've all looked out at the night sky and wondered at how much the stars look like strings of cities. But there's more than a passing resemblance—according to a team of astrophysicists who compared the two, there's a much deeper connection at work. We aren't just made of stars, we act like them too. » 1/20/15 9:42am 1/20/15 9:42am

Boston's Thinking of Building Canals Like Venice Because Climate Change

Imagine taking a scenic gondola tour through Boston's historic Back Bay as Red Sox fans saunter towards Fenway over arched bridges. Not far away, the Charles River Basin is padded by wetlands that soak up the rising sea water. This surreal scene, a sort of Venice in New England, could be the reality in a few years. » 10/28/14 5:23pm 10/28/14 5:23pm

What Would It Take to Turn New York into a Megacity?

Something bizarre happened overnight: New York City's population grew to the size of Shanghai's, swelling from 8 million people to 24 million. It's like a natural disaster, but this tidal surge is made of human needs. Here's how we'll rebuild the city to make room for them all. » 10/02/14 4:03pm 10/02/14 4:03pm

That Time Two Americans Won a Contest to Build Utopia in Australia

Eleri Harris has a new comic on Medium about the utopian plan for Australia's capital city of Canberra. Two idealistic American architects, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahoney Griffin, won a competition to design what they believed could be the greatest planned city in the history of the world. » 9/25/14 2:41pm 9/25/14 2:41pm

Should Cities Have Zoning For Drones?

The FAA's rules about commercial drones have so far been ham-fisted: ban, except in special cases. But what would a world where we live, play, and work next to drones look like? What would city zoning for drones look like? » 8/22/14 5:45pm 8/22/14 5:45pm

The Anti-Skyscraper Law That Shaped Sydney, Australia

When we look at visions of the future from the 20th century we often imagine the lone inventor or solitary artist concocting the fantastical world of tomorrow in isolation. But it's amazing how frequently both government regulation and the lack of regulation can influence the future of a given city in ways we don't… » 8/13/14 5:44pm 8/13/14 5:44pm

Why a Fitness-Tracking App Is Selling Its Data to City Planners

Strava, a popular fitness-tracking app for runners and cyclists, just announced a new initiative. Because the app collects so much location information about people on the move, the company is now selling its data to local governments, where city planners can put it to use. Good idea! » 5/07/14 2:20pm 5/07/14 2:20pm

Denmark Built a Complete Copy of Itself in Minecraft

Denmark is a beautiful country. You really should check it out. And now, thanks to the Danish government, you can just that without leaving the comfort of you own home. Just open up Minecraft, and go exploring. It's all there. » 4/25/14 3:07pm 4/25/14 3:07pm

Glasgow Will Demolish Its Tallest Buildings Live On International TV

When the Commonwealth Games come to Glasgow this July, the city wants to put its best foot forward. The city thus has plans to blow up the Red Road flats, an infamous and now largely abandoned housing project, as part of its opening ceremony. A growing backlash, however, asks whether dynamiting the Red Road flats… » 4/07/14 3:00pm 4/07/14 3:00pm

These Compost Islands Would Turn NYC's Garbage Into Gold

The average New Yorker generates about three pounds of trash every day, and a huge amount of that is food waste—which could be composted, if only we had the space. Enter "Green Loop," a proposal to build massive composting islands off the coastline of NYC. » 3/03/14 3:40pm 3/03/14 3:40pm

How Living Infrastructure Will Save Our Cities from Nature's Wrath

Super-typhoon Haiyan, the single most powerful storm ever recorded, is an unsettling harbinger of troubles to come. Weather systems across the globe have gained terrifying intensity and destructive force over the past few years thanks to our rapidly warming planet. New defenses are needed to protect our metropolitan… » 11/19/13 5:20pm 11/19/13 5:20pm

Most Beautiful Items: August 17 - 23, 2013

You're in the homestretch. The weekend, my friends, is at hand. But before you disembark, check out some of our favorite finds from the worlds of art, architecture, and design over the past week. It's plenty to tide you over before you hit happy hour. » 8/23/13 8:00pm 8/23/13 8:00pm

Design a Better Street For Your City With This Free Web App

Have you ever wanted to be an urban planner? How about a landscape architect? Are you an urban planner or a landscape architect or do you just really love cities? If you answered yes to any of these questions—and maybe even if you didn't—you'll love Streetmix. » 8/15/13 6:20pm 8/15/13 6:20pm

How Nextdoor and NYC Will Pioneer Socially Networked Crime Fighting

Can you imagine what it would be like to report crimes via Facebook or call for a fire truck through Twitter? It would be pretty convenient, right? None of that scary "Call 911!" business. No ambling down to the precinct to fill out paperwork. No need to leave your living room at all, actually. It would be equivalent… » 6/14/13 10:06am 6/14/13 10:06am

Cities Are the Future of Human Evolution

Humans began to live in urban settlements about 7 thousand years ago. As humans continued to evolve over the millennia, so too did our cities. Now, our cities are about to change again — and they're going to look more like ancient Machu Picchu than the gleaming towers of glass and steel we have today. » 5/07/13 7:49pm 5/07/13 7:49pm

The Great California Cycleway That Never Was

Bikes are a great way to get around, and before cars, they were even more crucial. They were so popular, in fact, that in the late 1890s, plans were put in place for a grand bicycle highway that would take riders from Pasadena to Los Angeles, but it was never able to make it to its destination. » 5/04/13 5:37pm 5/04/13 5:37pm

You Can Sit in This Pond Without Getting Wet

This picture was taken in a park in Vöcklabruck, Austria that you might want to go to right now. You can actually sit in the middle of the pond, thanks to a sunken spot where you can hang out without getting soaked. » 4/04/13 11:20am 4/04/13 11:20am

The Map That Created New York City

Today is the 200th birthday of the street map that spawned the Greatest City in the World. The NY Times has a revealing story on how the grid, which mapped 11 avenues and 155 crosstown streets, transformed New York into a city of right angles. » 3/21/11 8:40pm 3/21/11 8:40pm

Helsinki's Underground Shadow City

Bound by buildings on one side and a harbor on the other, the Finnish capital of Helsinki is pursuing a unique direction for its urban expansion: straight down. Thanks to a cooperatively shallow bedrock, building underground is relatively painless and inexpensive, and already citizens enjoy access to a subterranean… » 2/24/11 4:40pm 2/24/11 4:40pm