Civic Life

Courtesy of coUrbanize

Creating a Better Community Through Text Messages

As cities make their data more transparent and accountable, this project in New York found one way to use technology to engage the residents in the planning process—by prompting locals to text in ideas.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Why Can't America Solve the Hunger Problem?

The new book Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups argues that food banks and pantries don’t chip away at underlying issues that keep people food-insecure.

Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona's Old Town Gets A Reboot

The city seeks to control the excesses of tourism without making its oldest quarters feel like an empty shell.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

How Phoenix Helped Its Working Poor Beat the Summer Heat

The city organized a massive outreach campaign when it learned that low-income communities didn’t know about its free cooling stations.

Courtesy of Marin County

When Planning for Sea-Level Rise Turns to Play

Marin County’s “Game of Floods” teaches citizens how to make tough decisions for the future.

Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Can Florida's First Needle Exchange Help Curb HIV?

The state leads the nation in new diagnoses, and close to six percent are attributed to injection-drug users sharing used or infected needles.

Gemeente Amsterdam

Amsterdam Is Flooding, On Purpose

Widened canals—and underground bike parking—will bring the city’s Central Station a little closer to nature and history.

Warren Antiola/Flickr

In Disaster Recovery, Social Networks Matter More Than Bottled Water and Batteries

When it comes to bouncing back, never underestimate the power of communities.

Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Venice Fights Back

The world's most beautiful city has never been more threatened. But a passionate movement of locals is determined to keep it alive.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The High Line's Next Balancing Act

The famed “linear park” may be a runaway success, but it’s also a symbol of Manhattan’s rising inequality. Can its founder help other cities learn from its mistakes?

Don Ryan/AP Photo

A Portland Start-Up Is Smashing Barriers to Affordable Housing

Tyrone Poole, the founder of, was homeless once. Now he’s demystifying the rental search, one application at a time.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Best Ideas of 2016

Not everything is terrible!

Carlos Eliason/City of Sacramento

How Sacramento Rolled Out a Mobile Restroom for the Homeless ​​​​​​​

The Pit Stop project hired restroom attendants who can empathize with the population they’re trying to reach.

David Pérez (DPC), Wikimedia Commons, License cc-by-sa-4.0

The Women Replacing Spain's Franco-Era Street Names

Cities are finally getting rid of streets that honor fascist figures, and they’re addressing a gender imbalance at the same time.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Future of 311 Could Be Weird

Non-emergency city service hotlines are celebrating their 20th anniversary, and eyeing immersive new possibilities.

Samuel Treindl

Restoring a Historic Athens Neighborhood, One House at a Time

A community-led approach to historic restoration focuses on crumbling 19th century buildings.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Closing the Child Care Access Gap

It’s not just a matter of affordability. It’ll take an “infrastructure investment,” a new report claims.  

Bruna cs/Flickr

Challenging Latin American Cities to Change

This could be the biggest task yet for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge.