Design

Photos
Victoria Lautman

Can India's Ancient Stepwells Help Solve the Country's Water Crisis?

Now largely obsolete, these Escher-like cisterns were once monuments of public life. And in the midst of water shortage, stepwells may refill their civic role.

Flickr/Paalia

Why People Write on Bathroom Walls

The study of "latrinalia" reveals deep connections between environment, social mores, and why dudes draw penises while women tend to scribble romantic poetry in public potties.

RAD Lab

Selling Conservative San Diego on Experimental Land Uses

The brand new Quartyard pop-up is a sign of changing attitudes in what has been a more traditional planning culture.

CityFixer
Jason Lawrence / Flickr

How Super-Small, European-Style Delivery Vehicles Could Make U.S. Streets Safer

A growing class of cargo vans enables smarter intersection design.

connel / Shutterstock.com

The Swedish Approach to Road Safety: 'The Accident Is Not the Major Problem'

Sweden's top traffic safety strategist visits New York to share lessons from the original "Vision Zero."

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Why the Future of Major League Soccer Is Downtown

Young urbanites are Major League Soccer's most loyal demographic. They want their stadiums in city centers.

AP Photo/Jens Meyer

Germany's Famed Crosswalk Man Comes Under Fire for Being ... a Man

The Ampelfrau and her commanding yet adorable braid will be phased in, but opponents look askance for varied reasons.   

Luke Anderson/StopGap

In Canada, DIY Wheelchair Ramps Are an Imperfect Fix

As Ontario businesses move toward mandated accessibility compliance, ramp project StopGap doesn't want perfection to be the enemy of good.

Maps
Jennifer Wong

So You've Decided to Map Sidewalk Poop in San Francisco...

Sorry to say you'll discover that much of it is attributed to humans.

Flickr/Groume

Paris May Not Welcome the 'Human Zoo'

A white South African artist's re-creation of a colonialist tradition exhibiting "exotic" people is drawing ire across Europe.

Videos
Freedom/YouTube

Sorry Photo Drones, These Real Bird's-Eye City Views Rule Way Harder

To mark the 50th anniversary of the "Red List" of endangered species, a white-tailed eagle with a GoPro captured swooping views of London.

Napper Architects, Courtesy of Something Concrete and Modern

Why an Ambitious, Fanciful 'Linear City' Failed

A Le Corbusier-inspired idea for a city that organized transit and architecture around "functional delineation" was never realized.

Robot Town Sagami

Japan Now Has a Traffic Signal Shaped Like Astro Boy

But can it aerate jaywalkers with retractable butt guns?

Heatherwick Studio

Why You Keep Seeing Plans for Off-Shore Parks

Building over-water park infrastructure is one approach for dense cities. But are these parks a flashy design fad or a real urban solution?

Anthony Flint

Ushering in an Era of Concrete Destruction

Cities spend big money to retrofit and modernize landscapes built with the world’s most popular construction material—even as others go right on pouring it.

dominique landau/Shutterstock

Cleaning Up Urban Waterways With Manmade Islands

The brains behind Scotland's Biomatrix Water use flotillas of plants to filter polluted water and soften concrete riverbanks.

Norway's New Passports Are Designed to Make Every Other Country Feel Inferior

The travel documents come on the heels of those super-cool new banknotes, too.

Navigator

Expanding a Kid's Ideas About 'Home'

Four households around the world reveal unique yet familiar domestic experiences in an immersive new app.

Videos
Juliet Zulu

Portland Musicians Turned This Van Into a Community Basketball Hoop

Meet the real 'Trail Blazers' in Portland's b-ball scene.

REUTERS/Aly Song

Declining Walkability Plays a Big Role in China's Obesity Problem

But it's the middle class, not the poor who may pay the biggest price.