Environment

Here's What the Heat Island Looks Like in East Coast Cities

Maps of urban heat islands show where residents can find pockets of cooler air in Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

a photo of a small fleet of electric Chevrolet Bolts cars.

Should Electric Vehicle Drivers Pay Per Mile?

Since EV drivers zip past gas taxes, they don’t contribute to the federal fund for road maintenance. A new working paper tries to determine whether plug-ins should pay up.

How ‘Corn Sweat’ Makes Summer Days More Humid

It’s a real phenomenon, and it’s making the hot weather muggier in the American Midwest.

Hurricane Barry: Lessons From a Disaster That Wasn’t

Hurricane Barry largely spared New Orleans, but it underscored that climate change brings complex impacts and hard choices.

Hurricane Barry Is on the Way, and New Orleans Is Already Soaked

An “unprecedented” hurricane may bring three dangerous kinds of flooding all at once: rainfall, a storm surge, and overflow from a swollen Mississippi River.

The facade of a building in Manhattan, with an A/C unit in every window.

8 Charts on How Americans Use Air Conditioning

The U.S. government’s long-running Residential Energy Consumption Survey includes a lot of data on our A/C habits—and some surprises.

A car half-submerged in water on a roadway during a flash flood.

D.C.’s ‘Historic’ Flash Flood May Soon Be Normal

One-hundred-year storms, of the kind that wreaked havoc on the nation’s capital Monday, are expected to become 1-in-25-year events by mid-century.

The small white blossoms of a Bradford pear tree.

The Detested Bradford Pear Tree Is Coming to a Forest Near You

Cities and states are trying to remove Bradford pears‚ but the “weed trees” have already intruded deep into some forests, a biologist warns.  

When an Earthquake Followed a Flood, This Ancient City Disappeared Forever

Two millennia ago, an earthquake liquified the ground beneath an Egyptian port—a fate that could await other cities as sea levels rise.

a photo of Parisians cooling off in the fountains of the Trocadero Gardens earlier this week

As Record Heat Roasts Europe, Paris Prepares for the Worst

The French capital is rolling out its new heat emergency procedures as Europe boils in a record-breaking heat wave.

A photo of Murray Park in Long Island City, New York.

How to Design a Park That Deters Crime

Research on the connections between green space and criminal activity finds that park design and programming determines their impact on crime and safety.

A photo of a monarch butterfly perched on a pink flower.

Pollinator Cities Really Could Save the Monarchs

The milkweed needed to stabilize the country’s monarch-butterfly population thrives in metropolitan areas—especially on residential land.

Urban 'Breathing Rooms' May Help Smoky Cities Survive Wildfire Season

Five public buildings will get filtration systems to keep the air inside clean on days when smoke affects the city, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week.

The Squirrel Census Answers a Question You Weren’t Asking

How many squirrels live in New York City's Central Park? Finding the answer was surprisingly complicated.

Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.

A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

a photo of a woman covering her ears on a noisy NYC subway platform

My Quixotic Quest for Quiet in New York City

In a booming city, the din of new construction and traffic can be intolerable. Enter Hush City, an app to map the sounds of silence.   

Aerial view of a Modernist tropical garden.

A Brazilian Vision Blooms Anew in the Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden pulls out all the stops for its new exhibit on Modernist garden designer Roberto Burle Marx.

What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

A photo of Madrid's Gran Via

Is This the End of the Road for Madrid’s Car Ban?

With more conservative leadership moving in after elections, the Spanish capital’s pollution-fighting regulations on private vehicles may be in danger.

Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

A road is blocked by flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Google Maps Wants to Help You Navigate During Natural Disasters

The app will offer crisis navigation warnings and provide detailed visual information about hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.