Life

People on the grass in Central Park

The One Thing That’s on Mayors’ Priority Lists Nationwide

At the National League of Cities conference, parks and recreation was the priority for mayors. And for mayors in most of the U.S., housing is key, too.

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.

Netflix’s ‘Street Food’ Reveals a Thriving and Threatened Culture

In cities globally, street vendors are an essential source of food and provide critical income to women but recent crackdowns are threatening this lifestyle.

Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life

Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.

The Problem With Outlawing Distracted Walking

A New York lawmaker wants to fine pedestrians who text while crossing streets. Street-safety advocates say that’s ineffective, and may even cause more harm.

‘Fairbnb’ Wants to Be the Unproblematic Alternative to Airbnb

The vacation rental industry is mired in claims that it harms neighborhoods and housing markets. Can a nonprofit co-op make the tourist trend a community asset?

Still from 'Game of Thrones' showing three characters trudging through a burning city.

King’s Landing Was Always a Miserable Dump

Game of Thrones’ destruction of the capital of the Seven Kingdoms revealed a city of mean living conditions and rampant inequality.

A photo of a Somali refugee camp at Liboi, Kenya, in 1992.

A New Way of Seeing the Global Migration Crisis

A book on global migrants and refugees by novelist Teju Cole and photographer Fazal Sheikh explores the agency and humanity of the displaced and dispossessed.

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City (Left) and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend (Right)

Two Mayors-for-President, Head to Head

With Bill de Blasio’s 2020 bid, there are multiple sitting mayors in the crowded Democratic primary. How does NYC’s candidate compare to Pete Buttigieg?

Tourists walk along the High Line in Manhattan, New York City

The Beauty Premium: How Urban Beauty Affects Cities’ Economic Growth

A study finds that the more beautiful a city is, the more successful it is at attracting jobs and new residents, including highly educated and affluent ones.

A newly-installed 5G antenna system in San Diego, California.

Communities Are Fighting 5G, Permit by Permit

NIMBY backlash is complicating the next generation of wireless internet technology, with recent help from the California Supreme Court.

A photo of the Sparrows Point steel mill

In Baltimore, Visions of Life After Steel

The vast Bethlehem Steel mill in Sparrows Point outside Baltimore once employed 30,000 workers. Now it’s on the brink of something new.

A man walks on the street with a guitar on his back.

A Smart City Is Rarely Smart Enough to Account for People’s Feelings

Smart cities are efficient, but tech can’t account for human emotion. In the Mission District of San Francisco, officials are learning to bridge the gap.

A photo of passersby walking under a surveillance camera that is part of a facial recognition technology test at Berlin Suedkreuz station in Berlin, Germany.

The Bay Area’s Spy Camera Ban Is Only the Beginning

San Francisco just became the first city to ban use of facial recognition technology by government entities. Oakland may be next.

What I Learned By Listening to My Neighbors Fight

In a dense city that’s filled with humans, neighbors become spectators to one another’s personal lives.

Photo of a public fountain monument in a park.

The First City to Remove and Replace a Confederate Monument?

Native-American lawmakers pushed the removal of a 100-year old Confederate monument in Helena, Montana, in 2017. It’s being replaced by a public art project.

Voters Chose to Decriminalize a Drug. Now the City Faces a Choice.

A ballot measure directs the city to decriminalize magic mushrooms. Officials must now decide how—or if—they plan to make that happen.

a photo of bike riders on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Iowa

What Will It Take to Finish This Bike Trail Across the U.S.?

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has announced a planned route for a coast-to-coast bike and walking path from Washington, D.C. to Washington State.

When Was the Last Time Every American Child Feared the Same Thing?

Students used to duck and cover. Now they have lockdown drills.