Environment

A photo of a monarch butterfly perched on a pink flower.

Pollinator Cities Really Could Save the Monarchs

The milkweed needed to stabilize the country’s monarch-butterfly population thrives in metropolitan areas—especially on residential land.

A photo of Murray Park in Long Island City, New York.

Can Parks Help Cities Fight Crime?

Research on the connections between green space and criminal activity finds that park design and programming determines their impact on crime and safety.

A girl draws at a viewing point overlooking the Seattle skyline, shrouded in heavy haze.

Seattle Will Open Clean-Air Shelters As Relief From Wildfire Smoke

Five public buildings will get filtration systems to keep the air inside clean on days when smoke affects the city, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week.

The Squirrel Census Answers a Question You Weren’t Asking

How many squirrels live in New York City's Central Park? Finding the answer was surprisingly complicated.

Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.

A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

a photo of a woman covering her ears on a noisy NYC subway platform

My Quixotic Quest for Quiet in New York City

In a booming city, the din of new construction and traffic can be intolerable. Enter Hush City, an app to map the sounds of silence.   

Aerial view of a Modernist tropical garden.

A Brazilian Vision Blooms Anew in the Bronx

The New York Botanical Garden pulls out all the stops for its new exhibit on Modernist garden designer Roberto Burle Marx.

What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

A photo of Madrid's Gran Via

Is This the End of the Road for Madrid’s Car Ban?

With more conservative leadership moving in after elections, the Spanish capital’s pollution-fighting regulations on private vehicles may be in danger.

Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

A road is blocked by flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Google Maps Wants to Help You Navigate During Natural Disasters

The app will offer crisis navigation warnings and provide detailed visual information about hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

Two men jump into Lake Michigan at a Chicago beach.

How Chicago Got a Lot Faster at Beach Water Warnings

Chicago is the only major U.S. city to use a new method to test for bacteria at most of its beaches—and then issue same-day swimming advisories.

a photo of a tourist taking a picture of a fox in the abandoned city of Pripyat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

No, Instagram Is Not Ruining Chernobyl

A (mostly mythical) surge in visitors to the nuclear disaster site raises a question: Can mass tourism spoil a place that’s already famous for being uninhabitable?

The Rise, Fall, and Possible Rebirth of 100 Resilient Cities

Internal communications shed new light on the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to stop funding the global climate nonprofit, and hint at what might come next.

A child's hand reaches to pluck blueberries from a branch.

Atlanta’s Food Forest Will Provide Fresh Fruit, Nuts, and Herbs to Forage

The seven-acre site in southeast Atlanta will grow fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, and nuts to improve food security for local communities.

How Ian McHarg Taught Generations to ‘Design With Nature’

Fifty years ago, a Scottish landscape architect revolutionized how designers and planners think about ecology. His legacy matters now more than ever.

a photo of a boy cooling off in a water fountain in New York's Central Park.

If Climate Goals Aren’t Met, Extreme Heat Will Kill Thousands in U.S. Cities

A new report estimates as many as 2,700 heat-related deaths can be prevented in just one city if global temperature rise can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Too Many People Want to Travel

Massive crowds are causing environmental degradation, dangerous conditions, and the immiseration and pricing-out of locals.

Aerial photo of a flooded residential neighborhood with rescue boats in the streets.

Will ‘Gray’ or ‘Green’ Flood Infrastructure Protect Houston?

As greater Houston seeks protection from the next Hurricane Harvey, using natural features like prairies and sand dunes to control water is gaining purchase.

A stream of water arcs from a water fountain.

Drinking Water Is Staying in Pipes Longer, and That’s a Problem

Shrinking cities can have their drinking water sit in pipes longer than desired, leading to high levels of metals, bacterial growth, and other problems.

A man in a polo shirt stands in a large garbage dump.

The Toxic Effects of Electronic Waste in Accra, Ghana

Sorting through used electronics is a livelihood for many in the Agbogbloshie area, but toxic e-waste poses serious health risks.