Life

A crowded room of residents attend a local public forum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Are Local Politics As Polarized As National? Depends on the Issue.

Republican or Democrat, even if we battle over national concerns, research finds that in local politics, it seems we can all just get along—most of the time.

A goblin figure in a tree trunk talks to visitors at a forest theme park.

‘You Have Made the Earth Sick’: Notes From an Environmental Theme Park

DefiPlanet, a nature-themed family attraction in France, has a surprisingly blunt message for visitors: “The earth will soon be dead and torn.”

A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.

How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

a photo of Northern Virginia's Crystal City.

When Your Neighborhood Gets a Corporate Rebrand

From National Landing to SoHa, neighborhoods often find themselves renamed by forces outside the community, from big companies to real estate firms.

People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.

Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

Māori warriors in traditional dress perform the haka.

New Place Names Lift Māori Culture in New Zealand’s Capital

A new policy in Wellington aims to revitalize the indigenous Māori language. First up: giving new, non-colonial names to sites around town.

How to Inspire Girls to Become Carpenters and Electricians

Male-dominated trades like construction, plumbing, and welding can offer job security and decent pay. A camp aims to show girls these careers are for them, too.

A large crowd packs Independence Mall, with Philadelphia buildings in the background.

What Happened to Earth Day?

In the beginning, it was a policy-shaking event that awakened a new generation of activists. But now even environmentalists have misgivings about it.

A toddler breathes from a nebulizer while sitting in a crib.

How Scientists Discovered What Dirty Air Does to Kids’ Health

The landmark Children’s Health Study tracked thousands of children in California over many years—and transformed our understanding of air pollution’s harms.

Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

A photo of a model of a church created by a young person held at Tornillo detention facility in El Paso, when it was operational.

What Do Migrant Kids See When They Visualize 'Home'?

A new exhibit in El Paso showcases works of art created by children detained in a massive border encampment of migrants in Tornillo, Texas.

Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California

America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

A tent-like pavilion with a colorful stained-glass design in a cemetery at dusk.

The New Art Galleries: Urban Cemeteries

With their long-dead inhabitants remembered only foggily, historic cemeteries like Mount Auburn and Green-Wood use art to connect to the living.

The facade of a casino in Atlantic City.

Photographing the Trumpian Urbanism of Atlantic City

Brian Rose’s new book uses the deeply troubled New Jersey city as a window into how a developer-turned-president operates.

When Tech Makes Food Insecurity Worse

Two UX designers are making art based on a shared frustration: Government tech ideas that don’t incorporate people into the process.

Why Did Arkansas Change Its Mind on Municipal Broadband?

Eight years after banning cities and towns from building high-speed internet networks, state lawmakers unanimously reversed course. Will more red states follow?

a photo of San Francisco tourists posing before the city's iconic skyline.

Cities Don’t Have Souls. Why Do We Battle For Them?

What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change.

A photo of couples dancing in a park.

The Geography of Online Dating

When looking for love, most people don’t look far from home. That's what a big-data analysis of interactions on a dating site revealed.

Mission 66 and the Transformation of the National Park Service

The post-New Deal strategy succeeded in bringing cherished public places into the modern era.

a photo of President Donald Trump, Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Brigitte Macron during their visit to Mount Vernon in April 2018.

No Wonder Donald Trump Didn’t Like Mount Vernon

Why did George Washington’s house leave the current president so unimpressed? Maybe because this practical-minded mansion was made to convey humility.

‘The Municipalists’ Is the Urban Planning Sci-Fi Novel You've Been Waiting For

The buddy-cop comedy by Seth Fried imagines a war over gentrification, and says something about the way we talk about urbanism.