Feargus O'Sullivan

Feargus O'Sullivan

Feargus O'Sullivan is a contributing writer to CityLab, covering Europe. His writing focuses on housing, gentrification and social change, infrastructure, urban policy, and national cultures. He has previously contributed to The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times, and Next City, among other publications.

Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

How Berlin's Mietskaserne Tenements Became Coveted Urban Housing

Why do mid-rise tenements dominate Berlin? The Mietskaserne, or “rental barracks,” have shaped the city’s culture and its counterculture.

What’s Behind the Iconic Floor Plan of London

The most common residential floor plans in European cities offer a window into urban history and culture. In London, it’s the “two-up, two-down” row house.

photo: An Amazon shop opens in Paris in 2018.

Paris to Amazon: No Free Delivery for You

Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants the e-commerce company to pay for the carbon emissions and traffic congestion that online shopping generates in the French capital.

photo: Uber app and sign for City of London

Why London Has Stripped Uber’s License

The ride-hailing company could be banned from its largest European market after passenger security concerns trigger a new crackdown by Transport for London.

photo: rooftops in Paris, France

Airbnb’s Olympic Sponsorship Deal Isn’t Playing Well in Paris

The home-rental company inked a massive deal to sponsor the Olympics until 2028—over fierce objections from the host city for the 2024 Games.

Berlin Wants to Freeze Rents for 5 Years. Can It Really Do That?

The German capital is about to begin a groundbreaking rental law, but looming legal challenges and new revelations cast doubt on whether it’s possible at all.

photo: Mayor Luigi Brugnaro walks on St Mark's Square as exceptionally high tidal flooding engulfed the city.

Its Flood Barrier Unfinished, Venice Submerges Under a Record Tide

Seasonal acqua alta reached the highest level since 1966, leaving two dead and devastating damage. The city’s ambitious flood barrier isn’t ready yet.

photo: A metro train at Paris' Gare Du Nord.

Can the Paris Metro Make Room for More Riders?

The good news: Transit ridership is booming in the French capital. But severe crowding now has authorities searching for short-term solutions.

photo: Swedish journalist Per Grankvist, AKA the "Scandinavian Malcolm Gladwell."

To Survive Climate Change, We’ll Need a Better Story

Per Grankvist is “chief storyteller” for Sweden’s Viable Cities program. His job: communicate the realities of day-to-day living in a carbon-neutral world.

The skyline of New York.

Instead of the Big Apple, NYC Could Have Been La Grosse Pomme

If the first European explorer to reach New York Harbor had gotten the name "Nouvelle Angoulême" to stick, NYC might be NAC, according to a new documentary.

Inside the Controversy Over Rebuilding an Iconic Berlin Store

The Karstadt department store in Kreuzberg was once an architectural marvel. Local officials say a new plan to bring it back would worsen gentrification.

A Charles Booth map of streets north of London's Hyde Park.

19th-Century London’s Extreme Wealth and Poverty, Mapped

Charles Booth’s famous maps of Victorian London offer a chance to reflect on how the city has changed—and how it hasn’t.

Electric cars are plugged into a charging point in London

Can Green License Plates Help Plug Electric Cars?

The U.K. government wants to boost sales for ultra-low-emission vehicles by offering special number plates—and perks—for EV drivers.  

a photo of rose-ringed parakeets in London

The Urban War on Invasive Species Cannot Be Won

Madrid has pledged to cull its population of monk parakeets. But once non-native fauna and flora gain a foothold in the city, they can be hard to remove.   

a photo of Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters in London

When Climate Activists Target Public Transit

The climate protest movement Extinction Rebellion is facing a backlash after disrupting commuters on the London Underground.

Charles Jencks and the Architecture of Compassion

The celebrated architectural theorist, who died this week, left a down-to-earth legacy: thoughtfully designed buildings and landscapes for people with cancer.

a photo of police clashing with demonstrators outside El Prat airport in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, October 14, 2019.

What’s Behind the Barcelona Protests?

The sentencing of Catalan independence movement leaders triggered a day of demonstrations in the capital of Catalonia—and more unrest may be coming.

Small brick townhouses surround a small courtyard.

A 'Modest Masterpiece' of Public Housing Wins Top Design Prize

Goldsmith Street, a publicly funded development of 105 homes in the U.K. city of Norwich, is a “modest masterpiece,” has won the RIBA Stirling Prize.

a photo of bikes on a bridge in Amsterdam

Street by Street, Amsterdam Is Cutting Cars Out of the Picture

Armed with a street-design tool called the knip, the Dutch capital is slashing car access in the city center, and expanding public transit hours.