Stories about places on the edge

Drawing the Lines

A week of stories about borders, real and imagined.

UV lights illuminate security features of a German passport.

The High-Tech Features That Make Passports Secure

The flimsy pages and patriotic designs betray just how many security measures are hidden inside.

Mapping the Drone War Over Pakistan

The controversial campaign of U.S. drone strikes has been intensely focused on small northern Pakistani communities near the Afghan border.

When Borders Melt

An Italian project maps how climate change is now shifting the nation’s boundaries.

The Birmingham Suburb That Wants to Segregate Its Schools

The predominately white, prosperous city of Gardendale hopes to secede from its poorer, more diverse school district.

The Hidden Fences of August Wilson's Birthplace

The structures both define and devalue a fabled Pittsburgh neighborhood.

In Divided Denver, a Highway Promises Reconnection

In working-class north Denver, a $1.2 billion cut-and-cover project may transform the neighborhood that the highway once isolated. But some residents fear they'll be left behind.

The Guatemalan Towns Plastered With Icons of America

When workers emigrate to the U.S., the regions they leave behind often adopt identities that straddle borders.

When Invisible Borders Trump the Real Ones

The economic clustering of cities often ignores the lines drawn on maps.

'The Border Is a Way of Reinforcing Antagonism That Doesn't Exist'

Architect Teddy Cruz and political scientist Fonna Forman want to turn the line between the U.S. and Mexico into a site for creative problem solving.

The Legend of El Paso's Transnational Streetcar

From the mule-drawn trolley of the 19th century to the rails ripped out by Mexico in the 1970s, tales of the El Paso–Ciudad Juárez streetcar still echo today.

Where Gerrymandering Is Containing City Power

To resist the current political peril, just boost the urban voter turnout, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

The High Cost of Closed Borders

Where immigrant populations live tells us a lot about how they improve the U.S. economy.

The Complete Guide to 'Border Vacuums'

As Jane Jacobs preached, large-scale highways, parks, and big buildings can all divide communities, discouraging street life and sucking the life out of cities. Here’s how to spot (and fix) them.