A New Campaign Wants to Fight Hostile Urban Design With Instagram

If you’ve even set foot in a big city, it’s almost definitely happened to you. Your feet are aching and you want to take a seat for just five minutes—maybe check your phone or finish off your coffee. But the only thing around are window sills with huge spikes jutting out of them, or a “leaning” bench that doesn’t take much pressure off your feet. Spikes and studs and leaning benches are all hallmarks of what artist Stuart Semple calls “hostile urban design,” a trend in urban design that is meant to stealthily discourage loitering, sleeping, or even simply existing in public spaces. Read More >>

Paris is Giving Half of its Legendary Roundabouts Back to People

When you think of Paris, you probably think of narrow, tree-lined streets. But consider some of its most famous monuments: they’re ringed by several lanes of busy vehicular traffic. Now the city is promising at least half of that space will go to pedestrians instead of cars. Read More >>

Look How Much Better a City Can Be When it Designs for People Not Cars

It’s a common argument when a city wants to take away space for cars: “This isn’t Amsterdam”. But guess what: Amsterdam — where half the traffic movement in the city centre is by bike — wasn’t always Amsterdam, either. The image above serves as proof that better street design can improve daily life, not just for people on bikes but for all residents. Read More >>

Smartphones Aren’t Killing Pedestrians

Every few months we get to read the same misinformed story about “distracted walking” — how pedestrians are too busy looking at their phones to safely walk across the street. But Facebook updates aren’t the real problem here. Read More >>

Watch How Designers Re-engineered an Island to Make a Park in New York City

Parks aren’t always built just so we can enjoy the trees. On Governor’s Island in New York City, a truly unique public space will bring nature back to a former military base–and it’s engineered to withstand the catastrophic storms that climate change will bring. It’s called The Hills, and in this documentary, we talk to one of its principle designers. Read More >>

How This Simple Landscaping Project Quiets an Airport’s Roar

Two years ago in the Netherlands, artist Paul de Kort designed an 81-acre park near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. His assignment? To use nothing but landscaping to dampen the noise of airplanes. Such a project had never been attempted and the science behind his design was discovered almost by accident. Read More >>

How Engineers are Building Skyscrapers That Seem Physically Impossible

Stephen DeSimone, president of DeSimone Consulting Engineering in New York, is engineering a new kind of skyscraper. He’s working on structures unlike anything else in the world: Supertall buildings with unusually small footprints. Read More >>

Smart Modular Roadways Could Ping Workers When They Need to be Replaced

Autonomous vehicles get all the glory in our ideal transportation future, but they’re gonna need somewhere to drive. Our streets are seriously lagging, technology-wise. Enter smart roadways that can alert crews when they need to be repaired — and then can be swapped out as easily as Lego bricks Read More >>

How North Korean Architects Imagine the Future of Cities

Solar-powered factories, hovercraft apartments, glass towers topped with helipads: no, these are not concept drawings for EPCOT circa 1981. These are ideas for the future of North Korean cities, designed by North Korean architects in 2014. Read More >>

10 Hidden Details in Your City and What They Mean

There was plenty of outrage earlier this month when a London storefront revealed pavement spikes meant to keep the homeless from getting too cozy. While these shiny prickles did seem especially Temple of Doom-ish, they weren't all that unusual: There are plenty of little details designed into our cities that tell us what to do, where to go, and give us hints of what came before. Read More >>

5 Radical Ideas to Protect Coastal Cities From the Next Big Storm

A bridge that deploys huge inflatable buoys to slow storm surges. A barrier reef grown from minerals harvested by electrical currents. An artificial island protecting the most surge-prone neighbourhoods. Most of us are bracing for storms this weekend, but the winners of a recent design competition, Stormproof, are imagining how to protect cities for the next summer storm season. Read More >>

Watch Cities Rise Building by Building in These Amazing 3D Animations

It's hard to imagine that the vast skylines of our major cities were once empty space and unused tracts of land. But the rapid urban growth over the last century is nothing short of astounding, especially when condensed down to simple two-minute animations. Read More >>