Chicago

A semicircular "agora" made of wooden crates and plywood walls in a design exhibition.

An Activist Architecture Stirs in Chicago

Chicago Architecture Biennial participants are focused less on physical buildings than on laying the foundations of an overtly political approach to design.

Photo of a public library.

Why Libraries Are Eliminating Late Fees for Overdue Books

Chicago Public Library became the largest system to eliminate late fees, a move that will increase access for low-income families. Will more libraries follow?

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?

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.

a map of the U.S. Midwest

We Mapped ‘the Midwest’ for You, So Stop Arguing

We surveyed more than 12,000 people (and counting) about the most contentious border question in the U.S. to reveal the true geography of America’s midsection.   

photo of gas-fired switch heater in Chicago

Should These Train Tracks Be on Fire?

Actually, yes. Thanks to extreme cold hitting the Midwest, Chicago is lighting the Metra commuter train rails on fire to keep the steel from contracting.

A photo of Andrew Field, the owner of Rockaway Taco, looking out from his store in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York.

Tacos and Transit: Rate Your City

From taco-rich San Diego to the tortilla wastelands of Boston, we asked you to grade U.S. cities on two critical metrics: Mexican food and public transportation.

IKEA plans to boost its online offerings and open 30 smaller stores in city centers over the next two years.

Why IKEA Wants to Move Downtown

The retail giant plans to open a series of “city center” stores, starting in Manhattan. It’s a notable departure from its usual big-box suburban megastores.

Chicago’s ‘Shapes’ Return 50 Years Later

John Massey’s minimalist designs are back on State Street in the Loop for the rest of August.

Lyft Just Became America’s Biggest Bikeshare Company

By acquiring Motivate, Uber’s chief rival will take over the docked systems in New York, D.C., San Francisco, and more.

Homes for sale are seen on Chicago's South Side, Tuesday, May 29, 2007.

I Hate-Watch ‘House Hunters’ to Understand Segregation

The HGTV show highlights more than just open kitchens and bickering couples

Why One Chicago Neighborhood Has to Keep Fighting Off Polluters

In 2012, Little Village’s Hispanic residents helped shut down a coal plant. Now, a redevelopment company plans to build a distribution center—and a lot of truck traffic—into the neighborhood.

An illustration of Gothamist logos being packed up.

Everyone Should Fear What Happened to the Gothamist Sites

Five U.S. cities just lost a critical source of local news. The former LAist editor explains why it’s so troubling that they were silenced.

Horned Larks from 1904 (top) and 1966 (bottom), The Field Museum.

How Soot-Covered Birds Narrate Pollution's Toxic Legacy

By analyzing collections at natural history museums, researchers revisited 135 years of industry.

A classroom with students and two teachers viewed through a window in the classroom door

The Controversy Behind Chicago's Diploma Mandate

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to set students up for success after graduation. But at public schools, even the best ideas often have unintended consequences.

An illustration of rats is pictured.

Will Cities Ever Outsmart Rats?

The age-old strategy is “see a rat, kill a rat.” The new plan is to end an infestation before it ever begins.

Meet the Chicago City Councilman Hoping to Fix Illinois

Alderman Ameya Pawar is running for governor with a focus on criminal justice, a New Deal-type infrastructure plan, and progressive taxation. But he’s facing some tough opponents in his own party.

A final rendering of the new La Casa Norte permanent supportive housing development.

Designing Dignity in Housing for Chicago's Most Vulnerable

The permanent supportive housing model includes community spaces, a clinic, and a cafe, and aims to help residents put down roots.

8th graders at Emiliano Zapata Academy pen down letters to kids at Amundsen High School.

Student Pen-Pals Anthologize Their Lives in a Divided Chicago

Collected in a new book, a series of dispatches between Chicago teens spotlights conversations that look beyond their differences.

A young man fills out an application at a Chicago job fair.

The Crisis of Unemployment Among Chicago Youth

A new report teases out the causes and costs of joblessness among the city’s young people without high-school diplomas.