Design

MapLab: Killer Apps

A biweekly tour of the ever-expanding cartographic landscape.

photo: A stylish new funeral parlor called Exit Here in London.

Death Be Not Dull

U.K. restaurateur Oliver Peyton’s newest project, a style-forward funeral home called Exit Here, aims to shake up a very traditional industry.

a photo illustration of a map from "Treasure Island"

The Treasure Map That Led Me to the Bottom of the Sea

It wasn’t always easy being a black woman in my early days as an oceanographer. But a fictional pirate and a pioneering ocean explorer helped chart my course.

How Advertising Conquered Urban Space

In cities around the world, advertising is everywhere. We may try to shut it out, but it reflects who we are (or want to be) and connects us to the urban past.

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.

Reviving the Utopian Urban Dreams of Tony Garnier

While little known outside of France, architect and city planner Tony Garnier (1869-1948) is as closely associated with Lyon as Antoni Gaudí is with Barcelona.

a photo illustration of map of Denver

What an Old Map of Denver Can Teach a Newcomer

There’s more to the fast-changing Mile High City than beer, hiking, and skiing. An old map gave me a clue about where to look.

D.C.’s Vacant Stadium Dilemma

RFK Stadium is taking up a very desirable plot of federal land in Washington, D.C.—and no one can agree what to do with it.

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 tall modern building made out of wood rises next to a small harbor.

The Timber Architecture Revolution Has Arrived in Norway. (Almost.)

Forest-rich Norway is a leader in building with lower-carbon structural wood. But it still lacks factories that can turn trees into building parts.

Photo: Harrison Ford on the set of Ridley Scott's seminal 'Blade Runner,' set in the grim future of November 2019.

How ‘Blade Runner’ and Sci-Fi Made Everything Dystopian

Science fiction, especially Blade Runner, has spawned so many dystopias that dystopia itself has become banal. We need a new utopianism that embraces the city.

photo: Helsinki's national library

How Helsinki Built ‘Book Heaven’

Finland’s most ambitious library has a lofty mission, says Helsinki’s Tommi Laitio: It’s a kind of monument to the Nordic model of civic engagement.

A Costume Ball Where Architects Dress as Buildings

In a revival of a 1930s society party, guests at a Chicago ball wore outfits of famous buildings such as Marina Bay Sands and the Aqua Tower.

What One Chicago Magazine Reveals About Gentrification

North is an expensively produced lifestyle magazine along the lines of Kinfolk or Monocle. Except it’s published by a Chicago real-estate developer.

The Rise and Fall of the Exuberant Airline Map

A new book reveals how airline flight maps have evolved over the past century, from exoticizing to stylish to more basic.

The Map That Unlocked the Mysteries of Pittsburgh

To untangle the roads of Allegheny County, a 1940s traffic engineer devised an ingenious way to help people like me find their way around.

CityLab University: Tax Increment Financing

Behind the dry-as-dust name is a powerful (and controversial) tool for financing urban redevelopment. Here’s a quick guide to understanding TIF.

The New MoMA Is Bigger, More Diverse, and More Open to the City

The renovated and expanded Museum of Modern Art looks to connect the museum to New York City while telling a fuller story about modernism.

a photo of the Maryland Renaissance Festival

The Utopian Vision That Explains Renaissance Fairs

What’s behind the enduring popularity of all these medieval-themed living-history festivals?

Two men look over city plans at a desk in an office.

The Doomed 1970s Plan to Desegregate New York’s Suburbs

Ed Logue was a powerful agent of urban renewal in New Haven, Boston, and New York City. But his plan to build low-income housing in suburbia came to nought.