Perspective

Three people study at a long table in a library hall.

Worry Less About Crumbling Roads, More About Crumbling Libraries

America’s social infrastructure is falling apart, and it’s hurting democracy.

A row of homes under the Montreal sun.

Why Is the Homebuilding Industry Stuck in the 1940s?

Embrace pre-fabricated, adaptable homes! Growing inequity, out-of-reach housing prices, and the speed of innovation in energy efficiency and technology demand it.

A crowd of onlookers watches fire consume the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on September 3.

Rio's National Museum Fire Was Not Just an Accident

The fire that destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro was part of a larger campaign of disinvestment aimed at the country’s history and culture.

What Worker Wouldn’t Move to Scandinavia in America?

Chasing an HQ2 is a dying model. As the nature of working changes, U.S. cities that provide workers with the support that companies once did, will prosper.

People run across the street during Hurricane Harvey

The Best Defense Against a Hurricane Is Community

Robust social networks and high levels of trust help people survive, and then bounce back after a crisis.

A photo of the two mayors using ladles to pack lunches.

Don’t Overlook Equity Issues in City Climate-Action Plans

Cities that fail to make issues of equity and empowerment central to climate-action initiatives are not living up to the values of the movement, says a former mayor of Portland, Oregon.

Cities Have Their Limits

Urging urban leaders to go it alone celebrates a deep dysfunction in federalism—and normalizes a self-destructive shift in politics.

Children and adults sit on and around a deck with multi-colored chairs and giant LEGOs.

If You Build It, They Might Not Come: Animating City Spaces

Why do revamped areas remain barren after so much thought and money are put into redesigning them? A case study in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers clues.

A photo of the Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue.

Work Habits Are Changing: Cities Need to Keep Up

What does work sprawl mean for urban planning?

Cars, taxis, buses, and pedestrians on Manhattan's 42nd Street.

Rethinking Manhattan’s Grid

What do you get when you layer the Barcelona “superblock” and the Dutch woonerf onto Manhattan’s grid? Streets that are for people.

I Chased Down the Only Electric Citi Bike in Manhattan

Seeing a single bike bounce around so often over my lunch break highlighted the value of bikeshare in a way that ridership statistics can't, writes an MTA analyst.  

When the Federal Government Takes on Local Zoning

Back in the first Bush Administration, Jack Kemp's HUD tried to rein in exclusionary housing restrictions. What happened?

An augmented reality view of a city being used as an urban planning tool from MIT Media Lab.

AR Is Transforming Tech. What Can It Do for Cities?

If it isn’t already there, augmented reality is coming to a device near you. Cities need to work to ensure that AR makes the leap from “cool experience,” to a technology that improves residents’ lives.

Downtown Kampala

Maize Sellers Where Skyscrapers Could Be

Africa is rapidly urbanizing but central city development is not keeping pace.

On March 31, 2016, a transportation enforcement worker watches ride-sharing vehicles pull into their spaces at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the first day they could legally pick up and drop off customers there.

Don’t Enact a ‘Lazy’ Ride-Hailing Tax

A former mayor of Portland, Oregon, outlines what a smart ride-hailing tax looks like for American cities.

Cities Will Automate First. We Should Prepare Now.

Urban spaces are the testing grounds for the automation revolution. Will they destroy our jobs, or just make new and better ones?

People marching across the Brooklyn Bridge in support of immigrants. New York City, New York, 2017.

The Global Compact for Migration Needs to Hear From Cities

In the U.S., more than 90 percent of immigrants live in urban areas; around the world, that proportion is even higher. City leaders should have more of a say in this week’s UN negotiations.

AOL headquarters in Virginia, 1997. By 2000, AOL was the biggest Internet provider in the country and valued at $125 billion.

Hook Local Startups, Not the HQ2 Whale

City leaders will find that cultivating relationships with small homegrown companies is smarter—and cheaper—than trying to lure in an outside behemoth.  

In Oct. 2017, women filled bottles with water in Zagora, Morocco during a water shortage.  Experts blamed the shortage on growing populations, climate change and agricultural choices.

What If People Were Paid to Use Less Water?

Pilot programs in Morocco and California are rewarding people financially for conserving water, rather than charging them for excessive consumption.