Perspective

photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.

My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.

There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

“Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

People in the park at night in front of water

Nairobi Should Rethink Its Colonialist Approach to Urban Design

The road being built in Nairobi is for the rich. Even if it will no longer traverse the city’s major park, it’s not the future-thinking urban design that Kenya needs.

Students work the table at a drive to increase voter participation at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, 2018.

Voting in Local Elections Matters. This Is What Cities Can Do.

Cities need to work at encouraging voter turnout for local elections. Even small increases in participation can transform the political landscape.

Photo: Harrison Ford on the set of Ridley Scott's seminal 'Blade Runner,' set in the grim future of November 2019.

How ‘Blade Runner’ and Sci-Fi Made Everything Dystopian

Science fiction, especially Blade Runner, has spawned so many dystopias that dystopia itself has become banal. We need a new utopianism that embraces the city.

What One Chicago Magazine Reveals About Gentrification

North is an expensively produced lifestyle magazine along the lines of Kinfolk or Monocle. Except it’s published by a Chicago real-estate developer.

The City and State Diplomacy Act in Congress Reflects a New World Order

If the City and State Diplomacy Act becomes law, the Office of Subnational Diplomacy it creates would give cities a formal role in U.S. international diplomacy.

a photo of police and residents of Stockton, CA, in a trust-building workshop

A Police Department’s Difficult Assignment: Atonement

In Stockton, California, city and law enforcement leaders are attempting to build trust between police and communities of color. Why is this so hard to do?

Untangling the Housing Shortage and Gentrification

Untangling these related but different problems is important, because the tactics for solving one won’t work for the other.

A cyclist rides on the bike lane in the Mid Market neighborhood during Bike to Work Day in San Francisco,

Why We Need to Dream Bigger Than Bike Lanes

In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

Sanders walking in front of a large apartment building with men in suits

Why We Can't Fix Affordable Housing: It Isn’t From Lack of Trying

Despite years of investment in developing it, the U.S. still lacks enough affordable public housing. Presidential candidates’ plans must address reasons why.

How Cities Address the Housing Crisis, and Why It’s Not Enough

Local officials from across the U.S. are gathering to discuss ways to address the affordable housing crisis but, they say the federal government must do more.

a photo of a row of Citi Bikes in NYC.

‘Walled Gardens’ vs. Open Mobility: The Battle Begins

Why did Lyft block users of a third-party app from accessing New York’s Citi Bike? It’s the start of what could be a fundamental showdown over mobility choice.

A photo of residents blocking a Philadelphia intersection on a July weekend in 1953.

The Hidden History of American Anti-Car Protests

A wave of traffic safety activism in the 1970s helped reshape Dutch streets. But the U.S. had its own anti-car movement earlier, led largely by women.

a photo of the abandoned Richman Brothers garment factory in Cleveland in 2012.

The Inclusive Growth Problem

Can left-behind Rust Belt cities in the U.S. catch up to booming tech hubs without magnifying local economic disparities? So far, the evidence is mixed.

a photo of a street in Zürich, Switzerland.

What Does This Street In Zürich Mean?

If you see how cars, streetcars, bikes, and pedestrians use this Swiss street, you can better understand what’s wrong with so many other urban thoroughfares.

Two people walk through the decorated front gates of a squatter community.

First, There Was Artwashing. Now There’s … Squatter Chic?

Will developers start to copy the look of urban squatter and protest communities? London’s Nomadic Community Gardens suggests they might.

a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it

Parking Reform Will Save the City

Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

A sign says Homestead for profit immigrant child prison.

There's a Reason Trump Shouldn't Reopen This Child Detention Center

Activists in Florida shut down the nation’s largest detention center for children with migration complications. The Trump administration wants to reopen it.

A man rides an electric scooter in Los Angeles.

Why Do City Dwellers Love to Hate Scooters?

Electric scooters draw a lot of hate, but if supported well by cities, they have the potential to provide a widespread and beneficial mode of transportation.

a photo of the 2020 Democratic presidential debate stage.

The Question the Presidential Candidates Don’t Get Asked

Affordable housing is an urgent crisis, and 11 candidates have presented plans for solving it. But you wouldn’t know this by watching the TV debates.