Design

The Writing on Mexican Walls Isn't Graffiti—It's 'Vernacular Branding'

A new book documents the tradition, commerce and politics of colorful bardas de baile.

Planning a Trip Around the World on a Rickshaw Is Exactly as Hard as It Sounds

What do you do, for instance, when you can't get a visa to pedal through Pakistan?

Practical Lessons for Turning Around a Neighborhood in Decline

New Haven's once sketchy Chatham Square is now safe, with annual festivals that draw visitors from around the city.

Videos

Building a Hotel in 6 Days: A Time-Lapse of China's Construction Miracle

A video captures the dizzying pace of building in the country.

Photos

How LEDs Have Transformed the City Skyline

Illuminated nightscapes are a new worldwide arena, where global cities will compete for recognition.

Maybe It's Time to Start Decorating our Air Conditioners With Little Lawns

The makers of the grass-covered "Babilawn" claim it makes ugly A/C units "aesthetically pleasing" from both "inside and out."

Maps

Map of the Day: L.A.'s Freeways, Reimagined as a Subway

Public transit nerds, prepare to geek out.

Baltimore, Then and Now (1911 to 2013)

A peek at how the city's changed on its 284th birthday.

Everything Is Illuminated: The Secret Lights of New York City

Leni Schwendinger is leading a community effort to rethink the way neighborhoods look after dark.

Maps

This Guy's Never Met a Map He Didn't Want to Fix

Just not always for the better: "I've deliberately designed maps that are deliberately horrible to look at, and succeeded."

How Detroit Really Is Like America: Best #Cityreads of the Week

A round-up of the best stories on urbanism we've come across in the last 7 days.

Tourism Invention of the Day: A Rotating Camera Stand With a Slot for Your Smartphone

On this Japanese island, you no longer have to ask strangers to take your group photos.

Sneaking Inside the World's Multiplying McMansions

Martin Adolfsson photographs upper-class subdivisions around the world without permission.

Photos

The Original New York Street Photographer

If Alice Austen weren't a real person, some novelist might have had to invent her.

Even in Big Cities With Light Pollution, the Moon Influences Our Sleep Cycles

A full moon can cause nights of shorter, worse sleep, according to European researchers.

Videos

This Stop-Motion Film Required 8 Months of Portland Street Art

Hundreds of wheat-pastes tell the weird tale of a man and his magical, pointy stick.

Videos

Mini-History Lesson of the Day: The Story of New York City's Street Photographers

The Everybody Street trailer captures the "visceral rush" of shooting from the perspective of the medium's masters.

To Beat Wintery Shadows, a Norwegian Mountain Town Installed Giant Mirrors

Rjukan, Norway, just created a town square-sized light box.

Meet the Photographer Who Tenderly Chronicles St. Louis's Scars

"St. Louis is sort of an underdog. We're scrappy. We're gritty. This city has been through a lot of shit."