Life

I Answered Strangers’ Philosophical Questions on the Street

An “Ask a Philosopher” booth in New York City attracted a surprising number of people with deep, meaningful questions that had long gone unanswered.

The Town Where Retirees Can’t Retire

In fast-aging pockets of rural America, older residents are going back to work. But not always because they need the money.

Capturing Black Bottom, a Detroit Neighborhood Lost to Urban Renewal

“Black Bottom Street View,” now exhibiting at the Detroit Public Library, thoughtfully displays old images of the historic African American neighborhood in its final days.

A Valentine’s Day Tradition, Born in the Heart of Boston

In the 1800s, candy helped make Boston an industrial powerhouse. Candy hearts have been a lasting legacy of that era, though their future is less certain.

The Singles Bar That Shook Up 1970s Toronto

After the fern bar craze had swept the U.S., the Coal Bin arrived in the growing, but still-conservative Canadian city.

a photo of a woman riding a light rail train in Jerusalem.

Can a Light Rail Train Link a Divided City?

Part cultural tour, part social activism, a project called Dissolving Boundaries uses Jerusalem's public transportation as a stage for examining relations between Israeli and Palestinian residents.

A husband and wife kiss on the Empire State Building after their Valentine's Day Wedding

The Cities With the Most Singles

Where you live can have a big impact on your Valentine’s Day by changing the odds of meeting potential mates.

We Found Love in the Gig Economy

“I never thought I’d marry a man through Uber.”

Tate Modern Visitors Can Keep Looking Into Rich People’s Condos, Legally

The decision by the British High Court was an abrupt end to a heavily publicized stand-off between private wealth and a public art institution.

San Francisco Is for Lovers. Washington, D.C., Not So Much.

Love, actually, is not everywhere this Valentine’s Day, according to new online dating data. At least not the walks-on-the-beach, unrequited kind.

A photo of a visitor posing for a photo with Elvis in downtown Nashville

Cities: Don’t Fall in the Branding Trap

From Instagram stunts to Edison bulbs, why do so many cities’ marketing plans try to convince people that they’re exactly like somewhere else?

When Newspapers Close, Voters Become More Partisan

Without local newspapers, readers turn to their political partisanship to inform their political choices.

Why Edinburgh Wants a Tourist Tax

Scotland’s capital could charge travelers £2 per day—and don’t be surprised if other U.K. cities follow its lead.

Should Libraries Be the Keepers of Their Cities’ Public Data?

Public libraries are one of the most trusted institutions, and they want to make sure everyone has access to the information cities are collecting and sharing.

How Seattle’s 1919 General Strike Ignited America’s Labor Movement

The strike was a spectacular show of force for the city’s workers, and inspired a tradition of local labor organizing that lives on 100 years later.

Portrait of Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City speaking at a news conference.

Why Mayors Keep Trying to Woo Business With Tax Breaks

U.S. mayors are split on whether business incentives are good politics, but most believe—despite evidence to the contrary—that they’re good policy.

Why People Still Don’t Buy Groceries Online

We shop online for almost everything. Why not food?

A construction crane in front of tall residential buildings in Seattle, with the port's cranes in the background.

No, Zoning Reform Isn’t Magic. But It’s Crucial.

The finding of a new study—that upzoning didn’t quickly increase development in areas of Chicago—shouldn’t make zoning reform any less of a priority.

Condo buildings under construction in Miami

How Affordable Housing Can Improve the American Economy

Building more affordable housing units in the metros that are centers of innovation will increase demand for the wares that fill houses, and increase productivity.

Paris Will Finally Let You Have a Little Fun in Public Parks

Bikes, games, picnics, and dogs are finally getting a warmer welcome in the French capital’s famously stringent parks and gardens.

17 Candidates Want to Be NYC’s Public Advocate. Does the Public Care?

A special election for New York City's top watchdog has many asking how the office can be more effective, or if it should exist at all.