Perspective

Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It

The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives.

A satellite image of Manhattan with an orange square superimposed, indicating one square kilometer.

What Micro-Mapping a City's Density Reveals

Exploring density by the square kilometer reveals as much variation within cities as between them—and shows that raw statistics can be deceptive.

School children facing the camera with three adults in the back.

How Gentrification by Urban Millennials Improves Public School Diversity

In rapidly gentrifying areas of Queens and Brooklyn, the new population is spurring a gradual desegregation of some New York City public schools.

a photo of an e-scooter.

A Lawyer Explains Why Electric Scooter Laws Don’t Work

Bird, Lime, and other shared micromobility services are disrupting the legal landscape, too.  

One Way to Make the Green New Deal Actually Happen: a Super-Ministry

To administer the Green New Deal, combine Interior, Energy, Housing & Urban Development, and Transportation to create a new Department of Cities and Regions.

photo of Arizona governor Doug Ducey

Why FOMO Is the Enemy of Good Urban Mobility Policy

Fear of Missing Out does not make good transportation policy. Sometimes a new bus shelter is a better investment than flashy new technology.

A house with a for sale sign.

Why Are Zoning Laws Defining What Constitutes a Family?

It’s wrong to exclude safe uses of housing because of who belongs to a household. Like family law, zoning ordinances should prioritize functional families.

How Ian McHarg Taught Generations to ‘Design With Nature’

Fifty years ago, a Scottish landscape architect revolutionized how designers and planners think about ecology. His legacy matters now more than ever.

a photo of a luxury apartment building in LA

How Luxury Units Turn Into Affordable Housing

Building more high-end apartments doesn’t sound like a quick fix for the affordable housing crisis. But maybe you just have to look harder.

What Will the 2019 World Cup Mean for the French Cities that Host It?

The World Cup is kicking off in France, yet cities are unlikely to see an economic bump. But if the French women win, their compatriots get a happiness boost.

Modi's New Challenge Is Embracing Urbanization

His expansion of welfare benefits has won him votes from rural citizens—but if he wants to build a “new India,” he must focus on cities.

A stream of water arcs from a water fountain.

Drinking Water Is Staying in Pipes Longer, and That’s a Problem

Shrinking cities can have their drinking water sit in pipes longer than desired, leading to high levels of metals, bacterial growth, and other problems.

Netflix’s ‘Street Food’ Reveals a Thriving and Threatened Culture

In cities globally, street vendors are an essential source of food and provide critical income to women but recent crackdowns are threatening this lifestyle.

Boston is an I. M. Pei City

Boston was where I. M. Pei produced work that would come to define the city and cement his own reputation as one of the world’s most evocative architects.

Four scooters that say "Available on Uber."

The California Legislature Is Getting Played by Micromobility Companies

If the California legislature passes AB 1112, cities can’t require companies like Bird, Lime, and Jump to limit numbers, meet equity goals, or fully share data.

A man walks on the street with a guitar on his back.

A Smart City Is Rarely Smart Enough to Account for People’s Feelings

Smart cities are efficient, but tech can’t account for human emotion. In the Mission District of San Francisco, officials are learning to bridge the gap.

An artist's rendering of a space colony, with farms, a university campus, an elevated train track, and skyscrapers in the background.

Jeff Bezos Dreams of a 1970s Future

If the sci-fi space cities of Bezos’s Blue Origin look familiar, it’s because they’re derived from the work of his college professor, the late physicist Gerard O’Neill.  

a photo of drivers entering Manhattan

The Technology That Could Transform Congestion Pricing

As cities like New York move ahead with plans to charge motorists to enter certain urban areas, we need to think about the best ways to manage road tolling.

Most of America’s Rural Areas Are Doomed to Decline

Since the Great Recession, most of the nation's rural counties have struggled to recover lost jobs and retain their people.

People of different faiths in front of a church.

What the Mutual Admiration Among Jews and Muslims in the U.S. Reveals

A Muslim-American former state department officer analyzes a new poll and finds fertile ground for officials to engage faith groups before tragedy strikes.