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Designing at Ground Level

The image is probably the most widely shared touchstone in planning: An urban building with apartments upstairs and a café on the ground floor. For any planner who came of age after The Death and Life of Great American Cities, this image encapsulates the field. Density. Mixed use.

Underground London: adventures in the secret city beneath our feet

At 2am on a cold winter’s night in London last year I was loitering in the shadows on Furnival Street near Chancery Lane tube station with a veteran urban explorer called Lucy Sparrow.

City slicker

WAITING for a bus on a drizzly winter morning is miserable. But for London commuters Citymapper, an app, makes it a little more bearable.

The Brain on Architecture

Looking at buildings designed for purposes of contemplation—like museums, churches, and libraries—may have positive measurable effects on mental state.

There’s a Science to Foot Traffic, and It Can Help Us Design Better Cities

China has in the past 30 years become the most urbanized country that has ever existed. More than 450 million Chinese — 1 in 25 people on the planet – live in cities. At least 160 Chinese cities have more than 1 million people, compared to nine in the United States.

Ten of the world's best city hikes

Stretch your legs over hours or days, without leaving some of the world’s biggest cities. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Welcome to the jungle. Brazil’s first national park, the world’s largest urban forest, smack bang in the heart of Rio de Janeiro.

Excuse Us While We Kiss The Sky

Editor’s Note: On March 10, 2014, journalist Matthew Power lost his life pursuing a story along the Nile River in Uganda. He left behind a body of work as diverse and compelling as the adventures, tragedies, and passions of his subjects.

Too Rich, Too Thin, Too Tall?

These days, it is not just a woman who can never be too rich or too thin.

The Slumdog Millionaire Architect

The offices of Hafeez Contractor, India’s most commercially successful architect, are on Bank Street, just around the corner from the Mumbai Stock Exchange. The prestige of the address, however, is undermined by the beleaguered state of the Raj-era building.

Why Japan is Crazy About Housing

Save this picture! Japan is famous for its radical residential architecture. But as Tokyo architect Alastair Townsend explains, its penchant for avant garde housing may be driven by the country’s bizarre real estate economics, as much as its designers’ creativity.

Wal-Mart: An economic cancer on our cities

Most of us agree that development that provides employment and tax revenue is good for cities. Some even argue that the need for jobs outweighs aesthetic, lifestyle, or climate concerns—in fact, this argument comes up any time Walmart proposes a new megastore near a small town.

Affordable Housing Draws Middle Class to Inland Cities

OKLAHOMA CITY — Americans have never hesitated to pack up the U-Haul in search of the big time, a better job or just warmer weather. But these days, domestic migrants are increasingly driven by the quest for cheaper housing.

How to Design a Happier City

Charles Montgomery begins his new book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, on a bicycle ride in Bogota, Colombia, with former mayor Enrique Peñalosa. While in office, Peñalosa implemented a number of policies quite progressive for that time and place.

A Dictator's Guide to Urban Design

Ukraine's Independence Square, and the revolutionary dimensions of public spaces. Ukraine is the size of Texas, but for the last three months its burgeoning protest movement has largely crowded into the space of 10 city blocks.

Cities belong to us

We’d gathered by the ticket booth outside the South Bank Centre in London at 6.30pm. It was the last Friday in May but there was a slight chill in the air, so we clustered in groups — couples sticking together, friends facing in towards each other.

Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities. Record speed, time, elevation, and location from your phone, and millions of people do this, me included.

The multiplexed metropolis

EVEN thieves, it seems, now have a smartphone app. Makkie Klauwe (it means something like “easy pickings” in Amsterdam slang) reveals the city’s best places for pilfering—for instance Reestraat and Tuinstraat, where bicycles appear to be a good target.

The Mayor’s Geek Squad

It was a case for a digital Sherlock Holmes.

Expensive cities are killing creativity

In-depth series that unravel the threads of major issues to reveal the bigger picture. An investigation into a massacre reveals the lack of political will to unite the country.

Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young?

Like many residents of Northwest Portland, Matthew Hale doesn’t own a car. Instead, he prefers to walk or ride the bus to the city’s innumerable coffee shops and breweries and live-music spots.

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