Environment

photo: A waterfront park in Macau.

Longing for the Great Outdoors? Think Smaller.

Access to parks, nature, and wildlife is critical for physical and emotional well-being. Now some city dwellers sheltered at home must find it in new ways.  

photo: A cyclist rides past a closed Victoria Park in East London.

The Power of Parks in a Pandemic

For city residents, equitable access to local green space is more than a coronavirus-era amenity. It’s critical for physical, emotional, and mental health.

photo: a dog being trained to detect Covid-19

Can Dogs Smell Covid-19?

In the U.K., researchers believe they can train dogs to sniff out the distinctive odor of coronavirus, potentially assisting in mass infection screening efforts.

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.

photo: an empty street in NYC

What a Coronavirus Recovery Could Look Like

Urban resilience expert Michael Berkowitz shares ideas about how U.S. cities can come back stronger from the social and economic disruption of coronavirus.

photo: An empty park in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City hit by a spike in coronavirus cases.

Are Suburbs Safer From Coronavirus? Probably Not.

Urban density does play a role in disease transmission. But rural areas and suburban sprawl aren’t necessarily safer spaces to ride out the Covid-19 crisis.

photo: Revelers at New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade in 2010.

Parades and Pandemics Are a Really Bad Combination

Coronavirus fears finally halted New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Here’s why health experts are urging cities to cancel all public gatherings.

photo: Houston highways in 1987

The New Age of Freeway Revolts

Adding lanes for “traffic relief” remains politically popular. But in Houston and Portland, highway expansions are facing an energized — and effective — local resistance.

London’s Trees Are Saving the City Billions

Shady trees mean less air conditioning and increased worker productivity in the summer months.

photo: an airliner

Why Are Airlines Flying Empty 'Ghost Flights'?

As demand for air travel plummets around the world, some carriers are operating planes with no passengers, burning fuel to hold their flight slots.

After Tornado, Nashville Braces for Disaster Capitalism

In the wake of a severe tornado, local housing activists fear that a wave of speculators could prey on North Nashville’s vulnerable homeowners.

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: strollers in Vienna

Is Vienna Really All That Livable? Depends on Where You Look.

A new report questions the methods used by the Economist Intelligence Unit to rank global cities, saying that environmental justice issues can get ignored.

Calling Out the Super Polluters

Just 100 industrial facilities are to blame for more than a third of U.S. toxic air emissions. A new report ranks the biggest offenders.

photo: Uber and Lyft vehicles.

Ride-Hailing Isn’t Really Green

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that the environmental impact of Uber and Lyft rides is 69% worse than the transportation modes they replace.

photo: Firefighters survey a home burning along Highway 128 during the Kincade fire in Healdsburg, California, in October 2019.

Playing the Odds on the Next California Wildfire

In fire-prone parts of California, insurance companies are using new AI-powered tools to better estimate the likelihood of a devastating wildfire disaster.

photo: Utah Department of Transportation workers inspect a highway bridge under construction on Interstate 15 in American Fork, Utah.

What 4 Years of Trump’s Transportation Budgets Add Up to

In his 2021 budget request, President Trump sends mixed messages about federal funding for highways, bridges, and railways. Sound familiar?

photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.

Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

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.

Where Light Pollution Is Seeping Into the Rural Night Sky

Artificial light that floods the night sky is thought to be only an urban phenomenon. But when you adjust for population, the picture is dramatically different.

photo: a man watches a wildfire.

A New Therapy for an Age of ‘Climate Grief’

An emerging cohort of therapists and artists are developing novel ways to help people process the anxiety and helplessness triggered by “climate grief.”