California's Drought Is So Bad, They're Drinking Toilet Water

At this point, we all know that California's superdrought is bad—really bad. We don't yet know how Californians are going to cope with the consequences. According to a recent billion dollar allocation of taxpayer money for water recycling programs, drinking toilet water is one way. » 4/17/14 6:48pm Thursday 6:48pm

Sunshades Bloom to Protect These Towers from the Brutal Desert Sun

When the sun comes up, the flowers come out. Inspired by the design of Arabic windows known as mashrabiya, these 45-foot wide, flower-shaped sunshades "blossom" in minutes to cover the facades of these twin towers designed for two (anonymous!) Middle Eastern media companies. » 4/17/14 4:20pm Thursday 4:20pm

The Plan to Keep People From Jumping Off the Golden Gate Bridge

More people have committed suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge than on any other structure in the world—someone jumps from the bridge to their death about every two weeks. But those figures could be dramatically reduced if a proposed suicide-prevention barrier is installed later this year, as advocates hope. » 4/17/14 3:20pm Thursday 3:20pm

Are LG's New Headquarters Really a "Public Shame"?

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman is on a roll lately in his quest to hold architects accountable for their design shortcomings. His latest target? The firm HOK, which he says has turned tech manufacturer LG's new headquarters into an "eyesore." » 4/15/14 5:35pm Tuesday 5:35pm

Why Southwest Airlines Is Building Parks in Each of Its 90 Cities

Over the last 47 years, Southwest Airlines has built a vibrant—if a little goofy—airborne community. Now some of that culture is fueling urban improvements on the ground. Southwest's new initiative called the Heart of the Community is working to build public spaces in all of the 90 cities the airline serves. » 4/15/14 3:40pm Tuesday 3:40pm

Three of the World's Prettiest Parking Garages Are In One Small City

Parking garages are ugly by their very nature: They're metal cages that take up valuable space in our cities to house our automobiles for a few high-priced hours. But not all garages have to be ugly. In fact, three of the most beautiful are located within a few blocks of each other, in the city of Santa Monica,… » 4/14/14 5:20pm Monday 5:20pm

Linking the World's Highest Cities With The Longest Urban Cable Car

La Paz is situated at a whopping 3,650 meters above sea level in Bolivia. El Alto, the country's second biggest metropolis, is located 500 meters above that. Now a new cable car system linking the world's highest cities made its public debut, allowing tens of thousands of commuters to bypass congested roadways for a… » 4/13/14 11:00am 4/13/14 11:00am

Bike Lanes Don't Cause Traffic (If You Put Them In The Right Place)

The battle against bike lanes has turned into an all-out culture war here in the U.S., with NIMBYs shrieking about ceding a few feet of precious asphalt while squawking about the apocalyptic congestion that change will bring. But here's a deep, data-driven investigation into the truth about bike lanes and traffic. » 4/11/14 4:00pm 4/11/14 4:00pm

My Type of Neighborhood: Mapping the Type Foundries of New York City

I love old type specimen books. Any foundry, any period, it doesn't matter. They will have me hypnotized. But I don't usually linger at the title pages. Who would, really? All the fun and exciting stuff comes after that: the impossibly small text faces, the spectacular display faces, all the sample uses variously dowdy … » 4/10/14 12:40pm 4/10/14 12:40pm

How to Design a Smarter Olympics Bid

The Olympic Games are often a bittersweet milestone for a city, filled with economic and political ups and downs. But it would appear that Oslo's 2022 aspirations are set for success in the hands of Norwegian design firm Snøhetta, which has executed one of the most elegant Olympic bids in history. » 4/08/14 5:40pm 4/08/14 5:40pm

Why Do Chinese Investors Want to Build a Dubai-Style City In Kenya?

A coalition of 100 investors announced plans to build a "Chinese-controlled economic zone" populated by skyscrapers and luxury residences. Their new city will be in Kenya, but the goal is to "match the glamour of Dubai." What would motivate investors to go to the trouble of building a massive new city in a country other… » 4/08/14 2:20pm 4/08/14 2:20pm