Life

People cross in the crosswalk at Abbey Road.

On Abbey Road, the Beatles Made a Crosswalk Famous—and a Hot Mess

Fifty years ago, the Beatles crossed Abbey Road. The iconic album cover created the world’s most famous crosswalk, and a traffic nuisance that endures today.

Protesters with signs reading "Arrest Synder" and "Fix Flint Now."

A New Approach to Saving Distressed Cities: De-municipalization

Flint, Michigan, offered a devastating lesson in how state takeover of a city can fail. Agency control—“de-municipalization”—is a better idea.

Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca.

Everything in Mecca Earns a 5-Star Review

And online reviews of other holy sites are wildly inflated, too.

Illustration showing different neighborhoods of a city in different colors, resembling a 3D zoning map.

CityLab University: Zoning Codes

Don’t know your R1 from your FAR? We’re here to explain how zoning laws work, how these ordinances shape your city and neighborhood, and why we fight over them.

a photo of murals of George Washington's life and legacy inside San Francisco high school.

A Depression-Era Mural, Caught in a Very Contemporary Controversy

At a public viewing of a 1930s mural depicting the life and legacy of George Washington, San Franciscans argued about preservation, racism, and erasure.

Mass Shootings Are Destroying Our Sense of Public Space

Gun rampages do more than kill and injure. They also damage Americans’ communal life. Yale sociologist Vida Bajc analyzes the aftershocks.

A Modest Proposal to Make Air Travel Obsolete

To reduce emissions from air travel, Germany’s Green Party wants to eliminate the need for domestic flights by making big investments in trains.

a photo of Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan

Are Small Businesses Really Fleeing New York? This Tool Can Tell.

A first-of-its-kind law will give the city data on small businesses fleeing the city as retail rents skyrocket. But skeptics fear that won’t be enough.

The World’s Population Will Stop Growing in 80 Years

When that happens, there are going to be a lot more old people, plus emotional and economic consequences to deal with.

A man lies face-up on a blanket in the shade of a tree in a public park.

Living Near Trees, Not Just Green Space, Improves Wellbeing

New research finds that, when a neighborhood’s green space leads to better health outcomes, tree canopy provides most of the benefits.

Young children line up in the hallway outside a classroom in an elementary school.

Why Children Born in Big Cities Earn More As Adults

Just being born in a big city has a positive effect on later-life wages, new research finds.

Women pose as sex workers in videos at the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution in Amsterdam's red light district.

Gawking Tourists Force Amsterdam to Reconsider the Red Light District

As travelers overwhelm De Wallen—the neighborhood known for its sex industry—the city considers changing its appearance or moving it altogether.

It's Getting Too Damn Hot to Have Fun in the Summer

An environmental economist explains how climate change and extreme weather could mean summer is no longer the peak season for festivals and outdoor recreation.

A still from a 1940s film shows two children sitting in front of ranch-style houses.

When Public Housing Was Suburban-Style and White

In 1945, Portland made a short film celebrating the low-rise, landscaped Columbia Villa, a public-housing project for white Portlanders.

Europe’s Cities Weren’t Built for This Kind of Heat

A record-breaking heat wave across London, Paris, and Amsterdam is signaling an urgent need for design and cultural changes to combat climate change.

A photo of an Acela express train in Boston

A 50-Day Eating Odyssey Across America, Via Amtrak

Chef/transit advocate Madison Butler landed a paid internship to ride Amtrak around the nation to eat local food—and convince Congress to boost passenger rail funding.

In Madrid, a Car Ban Proves Stronger Than Partisan Politics

A new mayor vowed to bring vehicles back to the city center. The strong citizen backlash suggests that European cities’ car bans are not, in fact, in peril.

A photo of voters casting ballots from voting booths.

Coming Soon to Save (or Imperil) Democracy: Online Voting

Some voters in Provo and other Utah County cities will be able to cast ballots on a blockchain-powered mobile app in a pilot program for the August election.

An ornately decorated yellow doorway with gold doors stands out on a row of brick buildings with commercial shopfronts.

How Temple Facades Tell the Story of Hindus in London

Ranging from adapted historic buildings to ornate cultural centers, London’s Hindu temples tell of waves of immigration to Britain and increasing visibility.

A chef prepares food at a restaurant in Beijing, China.

What Restaurant Reviews Reveal About Cities

Where official census data is sparse, MIT researchers find that restaurant review websites can offer similar demographic and economic information.