Design

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What to Expect From Your Future Library: Best #Cityreads of the Week

A roundup of the best stories on cities and urbanism we've come across in the last seven days.

REUTERS/Daniel McQueen

Christchurch's Approach to Rebuilding After a Disaster Should Be a Model for Cities

How public-private partnerships have enabled the New Zealand city to rebound from a earthquake stronger than ever. 

The Bike Design Project

This Is Supposedly the Urban Bike of the Future

If trends continue, we'll all soon be riding extremely well-designed mopeds.

Flickr/Travel Afficionado

The Surprisingly Short History of the Rooftop Happy Hour

140 years ago, the only thing that hung out on urban roofs was wet laundry. But over time, height conquered all.  

Melanie Gonick/MIT

These Magnetic 'Hairs' Could Make For Smarter Windows

Tiny structures sway with a magnetic field to redirect fluid and sunlight. 

Asbjorn Floden / Flickr

How Outdated Parking Laws Price Families Out of the City

Bundling parking with living space structurally raises the cost of urban life.

Flickr/erussel1984

Why Airline Maps All Look the Same

Since we're not the ones navigating, do we really need geographically accurate diagrams?

Lauren Quock

Public Bathrooms Are Gender Battlegrounds, Mostly Due to Terrible Signage

Well-designed, simple signs can solve real problems for gender-nonconforming people while diffusing political noise. 

Library of Congress

Happy 100th Birthday to the World's First Patented Electric Traffic Light

A design based on James Hoge's creation debuted in Cleveland on August 5, 1914.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One Way for Californians to Conserve Water: Paint Your Dead Lawns Green

As the Golden State's worst drought on record rages on, a niche industry emerges.

Bjarke Ingels Group

A Transit Plan to Make a Less-Stressful Zoo for Animals

Zootopia will move visitors through animal habitats from three continents via three modes of mirrored transportation.

Maps
RBD Enterprises

City Maps Made by Judgmental Jerks

These fearlessly biased maps point out areas of "religious wackadoodles," "white guilt," and "Kardashian watchers."

The Lift

One Woman's Quest to Design Parking Lots People Don't Hate

Rachel Yoka believes parking can be more than what some might call a necessary evil.

ŠJů/Wikimedia Commons

Ornamental Hermits Still Exist—Kind Of

Having a live-in hermit was all the rage in 18th-century England. In recent years, some have chosen the quiet life for art's sake.

AP Photo/Amr Nabil

A Cairo Startup Aims to Modernize the City's Street-Merchant Infrastructure

Flashy "formal" kiosks sponsored by Coca-Cola and Red Bull will replace some traditional vendors. Will they be embraced by modern Egyptians?

Wikimedia Commons

Behind the Movement to Make Antoni Gaudí a Saint: Best #Cityreads of the Week

A roundup of the best stories on cities and urbanism we've come across in the last seven days.

Photos
Nikolay Nikolov

Communism, Geometry, and the Stories Buildings Tell in Bulgaria

One photographer's "alternative photo guide" to the city of Sofia.

Videos

The Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life, According to Geoffrey West, M. Sanjayan, Jennifer Pahlka, and More

Leading voices from this year's Aspen Ideas Festival. 

George Ross/Getty Images

We're Moving Beyond Energy Efficiency Into 'Demand Destruction'

Hybrid cars, solar panels, and LED lightbulbs aren't just reducing our energy consumption—they're totally upending it.