Design

The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

Readers: Share Your Hand-Made Maps of Life Under Quarantine

As coronavirus transforms our private and public spaces, how would you map what your neighborhood and community look like now?

photo: Wrigley Field In Chicago on Opening Day 2020.

The Empty Baseball Stadiums of Opening Day

With the Major League Baseball season on hold, the ballparks of North America hosted no crowds for Opening Day 2020. Here’s a sad photo gallery.

A rendering from the proposed Sunnyside Yard master plan.

The Many Megaprojects of Sunnyside Yard

Sunnyside Yard may soon host 12,000 homes on a 180-acre site over a working rail yard. But for decades, Queens dreamed of using this site for sports.

photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

photo: In February 2005, Christo and Jeanne-Claude unveiled "The Gates" in New York's Central Park.

How 'The Gates' Triumphed Over New York’s NIMBYs

Fifteen years ago, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s audacious public art installation debuted in New York City's Central Park. We’ll never see anything like it again.

Changing Tides Engulf the South Street Seaport

Mayor Ed Koch wanted a family-friendly attraction for Lower Manhattan. But this 1983 icon of yuppie-era NYC was swept off course by changing tastes.

To Navigate Love, French Intellectuals Mapped It

Starting in the 17th century, allegorical maps became a way of talking about relationships, from the Castle of Cuckoldry to the Abyss of Despair.

photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi

What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

Coronavirus Outbreak Maps Rooted in History

Cartographers are mapping the coronavirus in more sophisticated ways than past epidemics. But visualizing outbreaks dates back to cholera and yellow fever.

photo: the U.S. Supreme Court

The White House May Impose Classical Style on Federal Buildings

A draft executive order promising to “Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” drew a fierce response from the American Institute of Architects.

photo: a cul-de-sac in Utah.

Across the Globe, Urban Sprawl Is Spreading

Satellite images dating back to 1975 allow researchers to map how millions of cul-de-sacs and dead-ends have proliferated in street networks worldwide.

photo: the Great American Pyramid in Memphis

When Memphis Fell for a Pyramid Scheme

The Great American Pyramid was supposed to give the Tennessee city an architectural landmark for the ages. Instead, it got a very large sporting goods store.

Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

a detail from Andrew's Cuomo's 2020 State of the State goals

The Squid and the Governor

Design experts sound off about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unusual, cephalopod-filled graphic design sensibility.

How Berlin's Mietskaserne Tenements Became Coveted Urban Housing

Why do mid-rise tenements dominate Berlin? The Mietskaserne, or “rental barracks,” have shaped the city’s culture and its counterculture.

What’s Behind the Iconic Floor Plan of London

The most common residential floor plans in European cities offer a window into urban history and culture. In London, it’s the “two-up, two-down” row house.

photo: The Maryland Science Center in Baltimore

In the 1980s, Every City Needed a Science Center

Civic boosters were once convinced that planetariums and Tesla coils could revive American downtowns.

photo: a couple in a Christmas market.

Why Do Christmas Movies Hate Cities So Much?

The typical plots of holiday rom-coms involve women finding love in a make-believe small town—and getting out of the cruel big city.