Life

a photo rendering of "Siemensstadt 2.0" in Berlin

Berlin's Take on a High-Tech ‘Smart City’ Could Be Different

The German company Siemens is launching an ambitious adaptive reuse project to revitalize its historic corporate campus, with a modern data-collecting twist.

a photo of a security camera

Six U.S. Cities Make the List of Most Surveilled Places in the World

Atlanta and Chicago top the list of U.S. cities that are watching their citizens with security cameras, but China leads the world when it comes to official surveillance.

The Forgotten Urbanists of 19th-Century Boomtowns

Before economic-development agencies existed in America, some journalists amassed reams of data and published thousands of pages to promote their home cities.

Groups of people look at their phones while sitting in Washington Square Park in Manhattan.

How Socially Integrated Is Your City? Ask Twitter.

Using geotagged tweets, researchers found four types of social connectedness in big U.S. cities, exemplified by New York, San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami.

Dublin Is Changing, and Locals Hate It

The recent loss of popular murals and local pubs is fueling a deeper angst over mass tourism, redevelopment and urban transformation in the Irish capital.

American Migration Patterns Should Terrify the GOP

Millennial movers have hastened the growth of left-leaning metros in southern red states such as Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. It could be the biggest political story of the 2020s.

How Democrats Conquered the City

The 150-year history of how a once-rural party became synonymous with density.

a photo of a country music performer in Nashville.

Why Nashville Can't Quit Country Music

A historian on the Ken Burns documentary Country Music explains why the Tennessee capital’s bond with country music endures, even as the city has boomed.

Two women painting colorful panels outdoors with other artists in the background

East Harlem Hasn’t Gotten Its Subway Yet, But It Is Getting Vibrant Art

As East Harlem waits for the Trump Administration to fund the Second Avenue subway, the Uptown GrandScale Mural Project is changing blight to beauty.

A photo of Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr.,

Un-Corrupting City Hall

These cities all suffered notorious municipal scandals. What have officials and voters done to tackle corruption and keep it from happening again?

Mar-a-Lago

Americans Like Their Homes Big. The Rest of the World Doesn’t Keep Up

The U.S. is in the top tier of house sizes internationally—and it’s not just because of McMansions.

A mural of Woody Guthrie in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Don't Move People Out of Distressed Places. Instead, Revitalize Them

A new study shows that place-based policies are key to helping people in distressed cities, where investments should be tailored to local economic conditions.

a photo of volunteers packing meals for food-insecure individuals during an event in New York on the anniversary of 9/11.

Why Americans Stopped Volunteering

The terror attacks on September 11, 2001, inspired a national surge in civic spirit. But volunteering rates have been declining over the last two decades.

Dutch Cities Try a ‘Weed Test’ to Fix a Quirk of Legal Cannabis

Criminal gangs have prospered from the Netherlands’ ban against growing marijuana. Can city-approved cannabis freeze them out of a legalized trade?

A modest one-story home and a driveway leading to a garage behind it.

What Makes Silicon Valley Different?

Historian Margaret O’Mara talks about her new book The Code and how Silicon Valley has maintained its competitive edge in high tech.

a photo of Boston's CultureHouse.

From Dead Store to Pop-Up ‘Social Infrastructure’

A Boston nonprofit called CultureHouse is demonstrating how empty storefronts can be transformed into instant “social infrastructure.”

The City Has Food to Share. Do You Know Where to Find It?

A New York-based design duo proposes a “forage beacon” that makes it clear when food—like fruit, nuts, and vegetables—is ripe and safe to eat in the city.

Why Are America’s Three Biggest Metros Shrinking?

After a post-recession boomlet, the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago areas are all seeing their population decline.

an illustration depicting the 1527 "Carta Marina" map

The Renaissance Map That Filled My Childhood With Monsters

Growing up amid the political conflict in Northern Ireland, a 16th-century map that blended real and mythical monsters spoke to my fears and fascinations.

‘Storm Area 51’ Could Be a Disaster for Lincoln County

The Facebook event may have started in jest, but local officials are bracing for mayhem.

a photo of a steam locomotive

This Is What a Transportation Revolution Looks Like

To understand a true transportation revolution, I wanted to drive a coal-fired locomotive. On the Nevada Northern Railway, I found one.