Life

photo: An empty theater marquee on March 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California.

When ‘Cancel Everything’ Means Disaster for the Arts

With audiences gone and performances canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, musicians, entertainers, artists and cultural workers face a grim economic outlook.

A rendering from the proposed Sunnyside Yard master plan.

The Many Megaprojects of Sunnyside Yard

Sunnyside Yard may soon host 12,000 homes on a 180-acre site over a working rail yard. But for decades, Queens dreamed of using this site for sports.

photo: a very filthy punk club bathroom

These Coronavirus Immunity Jokes Are Love Letters to Home

Social media’s favorite Covid-19 meme is also an expression of strength, defiance and community affection in the face of a terrifying global pandemic.

photo: A commuter, wearing a protective face mask, waits on the platform for a Milan Metro subway train in Milan, Italy,

Europe Is Canceled

As Covid-19 cases continue to climb, the U.K and E.U. are banning events, closing schools, and sealing borders to slow the spread of the virus.

What It's Like to Hold an Election in the Middle of a Pandemic

France is going ahead with plans to hold municipal elections in almost 35,000 cities and towns this weekend, despite worries over Covid-19.

photo: An empty park in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City hit by a spike in coronavirus cases.

Are Suburbs Safer From Coronavirus? Probably Not.

Urban density does play a role in disease transmission. But rural areas and suburban sprawl aren’t necessarily safer spaces to ride out the Covid-19 crisis.

photo: Revelers at New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade in 2010.

Parades and Pandemics Are a Really Bad Combination

Coronavirus fears finally halted New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Here’s why health experts are urging cities to cancel all public gatherings.

San Francisco is using RVs as temporary housing during the coronavirus outbreak.

RVs and an Econolodge Become Makeshift Quarantine Zones

As Covid-19 cases climb, cities may face a shortage of locations to quarantine and isolate people. In the U.S., it’s a uniquely local problem.

photo: A lab technician in Singapore

Why Aren’t Cities Widely Testing for Coronavirus?

Public health experts warn local efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 require expanding the testing of residents. In the U.S., cities are falling short.

photo: a woman wearing a facemask on the DC Metro

Want to Avoid Coronavirus in the City? First, Stop Touching Stuff.

From subway straps to scooters, urban living is all about sharing stuff — and swapping germs. Here’s how to lower your risk of contracting Covid-19.

photo: A jobseeker holds an information packet during a U.S. Census Bureau 2020 job opportunities workshop in 2019.

The Census Bureau Wasn’t Counting on the Coronavirus

As census takers for the decennial survey prepare to knock on doors and count residents, anxieties about the spread of COVID-19 could hamper their efforts.

photo: Renny the Amazing Renaissance Center Robot

The Dream of the ’80s Is Alive in These Unhinged Chamber of Commerce Videos

How did urban boosters promote cities like Buffalo, Detroit and Kansas City during the 1980s? It took jingles, slogans, and a whole lot of montages.

photo: In February 2005, Christo and Jeanne-Claude unveiled "The Gates" in New York's Central Park.

How 'The Gates' Triumphed Over New York’s NIMBYs

Fifteen years ago, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s audacious public art installation debuted in New York City's Central Park. We’ll never see anything like it again.

The Great Tulsa Remote Worker Experiment

The first class of hand-picked remote workers moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in exchange for $10,000 and a built-in community. The city might just be luring them to stay.

Changing Tides Engulf the South Street Seaport

Mayor Ed Koch wanted a family-friendly attraction for Lower Manhattan. But this 1983 icon of yuppie-era NYC was swept off course by changing tastes.

Why Amsterdam May Clamp Down on Weed and Sex Work

Proposals to ban cannabis for tourists and relocate the red-light district would dramatically reshape the city’s anything-goes image.

photo: Cranes on the skyline in Oakland, California

How to Make a Housing Crisis

The new book Golden Gates details how California set itself up for its current affordability crunch—and how it can now help build a nationwide housing movement.

photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.

Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

photo: a man watches a wildfire.

A New Therapy for an Age of ‘Climate Grief’

An emerging cohort of therapists and artists are developing novel ways to help people process the anxiety and helplessness triggered by “climate grief.”

photo: a sign protesting meth use in rural Montana.

The Rise and Fall of America’s Rural Meth Labs

In his new book The Alchemy of Meth, anthropologist Jason Pine chronicles how methamphetamine addiction reshaped rural Missouri, and beyond.