Life

A NASA rendering of a moon base with lunar rover from 1986.

We Were Promised Moon Cities

It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

How the Volkswagen Beetle Sparked America’s Art Car Movement

When the Beetle was first introduced, Americans had never seen anything like it. Among art car enthusiasts, it became the ideal canvas for self-expression.

The Future of the City Is Childless

America’s urban rebirth is missing something key—actual births.

a photo of graffiti in Bristol, UK

What Happens to ‘Smart Cities’ When the Internet Dies?

In the fictional dystopia of Tim Maughan’s novel Infinite Detail, our dependence on urban technology has been suddenly severed.

A polar-bear cub sits on a rock outcropping as a crowd looks on in the background.

What Zoo Design Reveals About Human Attitudes to Nature

Author Natascha Meuser describes zoo architecture as a “masquerade” that borrows from museums, prisons, and theaters.

Are These the Last Vape Shops in San Francisco?

The city wants to stop the rise of teen vaping by banning the sale of Juul and other e-cigarettes. It could also mean the end of a particular kind of store.

Berlin’s Plan to Preserve Affordable Apartments: Buy Them

To ward off rent hikes and evictions at the hands of new building owners, the city will purchase about 700 homes the much-coveted Karl Marx Allee neighborhood.

A one-story building with a strip-club sign above the entrance.

The Architecture of Adult Entertainment

Photographing strip-club exteriors from Miami to L.A. for his series “Gentlemen’s Club,” François Prost found pink stucco, flashy signs—and lots of parking.

A crowded street outside in Boston

Surveillance Cameras Debunk the Bystander Effect

A new study uses camera footage to track the frequency of bystander intervention in heated incidents in Amsterdam; Cape Town; and Lancaster, England.                            

The FCC’s Confusing Attempt to Change a San Francisco Law

The city found a novel way to give residents access to more broadband internet providers. Federal regulators just partly blocked it, but it’s not clear how.

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.

Without Parking, People Who Live in Vehicles Have Nowhere to Go

Thousands of Americans live in vehicles because they have nowhere else to go. Without places to park legally, they suffer through parking tickets, property seizure, and instability.

The Cincinnati skyline and river

Maps Reveal Where the Creative Class Is Growing

“The rise of the rest” may soon become a reality as once-lagging cities see growth of creative class employment.

‘Reading the City’ Helps Travelers Find Books About Their Destinations

If guidebooks aren’t your thing, check out these stories to learn about the cities you’re visiting next.

Andrew Yang Wants to Save Your Dying Mall

The Democratic presidential candidate wants to fight suburban blight by repurposing dying retail centers.

A man rides a scooter through a narrow, cobbled street lined by historic buildings.

Portugal Passes ‘Right to Housing’ Law As Prices Surge

The new law seeks to curb runaway gentrification in Lisbon and elsewhere by prioritizing affordable housing and stopping evictions, among other measures.

School children facing the camera with three adults in the back.

How Gentrification by Urban Millennials Improves Public School Diversity

In rapidly gentrifying areas of Queens and Brooklyn, the new population is spurring a gradual desegregation of some New York City public schools.

A photo of a tourist taking a photo of the Vancouver skyline.

Hit by a Tourist Boom, Cities Wonder When to Stop Self-Promotion

Hot tourism markets like Vancouver are seeing record numbers of new visitors, straining local resources and giving city-boosters a novel problem.

A row of shikumen lanehouses in front of glass skyscrapers in Shanghai

The Last of Shanghai's Historic Shikumen Houses, in Photos

Built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, shikumen houses are barely holding on in the modern megacity.  

a photo of a street vendor in New Orleans with a load of Lucky Dogs.

Despite Everything, America Remains a Nation of Hot Dogs

July 17 is National Hot Dog Day. Time to celebrate one thing that millions of Americans have in common.

a map of historic rainfall odds in the U.S.

Will It Rain on Your Fourth of July Parade?

We crunched the rainfall measurements for July 4 for every county in continental U.S. to calculate the historic odds of an Independence Day downpour.