Environment

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.

Two men jump into Lake Michigan at a Chicago beach.

How Chicago Got a Lot Faster at Beach Water Warnings

Chicago is the only major U.S. city to use a new method to test for bacteria at most of its beaches—and then issue same-day swimming advisories.

a photo of a tourist taking a picture of a fox in the abandoned city of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

No, Instagram Is Not Ruining Chernobyl

A (mostly mythical) surge in visitors to the nuclear disaster site raises a question: Can mass tourism spoil a place that’s already famous for being uninhabitable?

The Rise, Fall, and Possible Rebirth of 100 Resilient Cities

Internal communications shed new light on the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to stop funding the global climate nonprofit, and hint at what might come next.

A child's hand reaches to pluck blueberries from a branch.

Atlanta’s Food Forest Will Provide Fresh Fruit, Nuts, and Herbs to Forage

The seven-acre site in southeast Atlanta will grow fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, and nuts to improve food security for local communities.

How Ian McHarg Taught Generations to ‘Design With Nature’

Fifty years ago, a Scottish landscape architect revolutionized how designers and planners think about ecology. His legacy matters now more than ever.

a photo of a boy cooling off in a water fountain in New York's Central Park.

If Climate Goals Aren’t Met, Extreme Heat Will Kill Thousands in U.S. Cities

A new report estimates as many as 2,700 heat-related deaths can be prevented in just one city if global temperature rise can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Too Many People Want to Travel

Massive crowds are causing environmental degradation, dangerous conditions, and the immiseration and pricing-out of locals.

Aerial photo of a flooded residential neighborhood with rescue boats in the streets.

Will ‘Gray’ or ‘Green’ Flood Infrastructure Protect Houston?

As greater Houston seeks protection from the next Hurricane Harvey, using natural features like prairies and sand dunes to control water is gaining purchase.

A stream of water arcs from a water fountain.

Drinking Water Is Staying in Pipes Longer, and That’s a Problem

Shrinking cities can have their drinking water sit in pipes longer than desired, leading to high levels of metals, bacterial growth, and other problems.

A man in a polo shirt stands in a large garbage dump.

The Toxic Effects of Electronic Waste in Accra, Ghana

Sorting through used electronics is a livelihood for many in the Agbogbloshie area, but toxic e-waste poses serious health risks.

a photo of traffic on the ring road outside Paris.

Traffic Is Unbearable on Paris's Beltway. The Fix? Remove Lanes.

The city wants to turn the Boulevard Périphérique, one of Europe’s most congested highways, into a slower, smaller, and greener “urban boulevard.”

Cars race around a track in front of Detroit's skyline.

Detroit’s Belle Isle Park Is About to Become a Racetrack Again

Every summer, the Detroit Grand Prix takes over a large part of city-owned Belle Isle. Opponents say an auto race has no business being there.

An illustration of the Memorial Day flood in Ellicott City, Maryland.

In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

A photo of police officers sealing off trash bins prior to the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo in 2015.

Carefully, Japan Reconsiders the Trash Can

The near-absence of public garbage bins in cities like Tokyo is both a security measure and a reflection of a cultural aversion to littering.

A sign tells passersby to "Go Green This Winter."

The Unintended Consequences of Green ‘Nudges’

When participants in a study had the option of approving a behavioral “nudge” to clean energy use, their support for a carbon tax dropped.

Paris Will Create the City’s Largest Gardens Around the Eiffel Tower

The most famous space in the city is set to get a pedestrian-friendly redesign that will create the city’s largest garden by 2024.

A ruined ancient temple in dense forest.

How the Ancient Maya Adapted to Climate Change

Instead of focusing on the civilization’s final stages, looking at Mayan adaptations shows how their communities survived for as long as they did.

Flying Cars Are Realer, Cheaper, Greener Than You Think

They might even be greener than electric cars.

Two horses standing in a field with fences and a large white barn in the background.

America’s First Greenbelt May Be in Jeopardy

Adopted in the 1950s to protect the city’s iconic horse farms, the urban growth boundary of Lexington, Kentucky, no longer seems unassailable.