wtf
Portland's Draining an Entire Reservoir Because One Guy Peed in It

144 million litres of treated, ready-to-drink water will be flushed into the Columbia River after a teenager peed in a Portland reservoir. Read More >>

locations
Lost in a Maze of Abandoned Stations Beneath the Streets of Barcelona

The always interesting urban exploration crew at Trackrunners have assembled all of their various trips down beneath the streets of Barcelona into one long super-post, an epic catalogue of all things lost and subterranean in that Spanish coastal city. Read More >>

architecture
Sunshades Bloom to Protect These Towers From the Brutal Desert Sun

When the sun comes up, the flowers come out. Inspired by the design of Arabic windows known as mashrabiya, these 45-foot wide, flower-shaped sunshades "blossom" in minutes to cover the facades of these twin towers designed for two (anonymous!) Middle Eastern media companies. Read More >>

design
This Photosynthetic Algae Roof Filters the Neighbourhood Air

Let's take rooftop farming to a whole new level—a microscopic level. Unveiled at Expo Milan this week, the Urban Algae Canopy is a living, breathing alternative to our inert roofs and façades. Could algae be the next hip trend in urban agriculture? Read More >>

watch this
This Drone Footage of NYC Makes You Feel Like Spiderman

You've never seen New York City like this. Well, you have if you've seen the Spiderman movies, but this footage captured by photographer Randy Scott Slavin is no CGI fantasy. It's Gotham at its grandest. Read More >>

security
Police are Testing a "Live Google Earth" to Watch Crime as it Happens

Last year in Compton, Los Angeles, police began quietly testing a system that allowed them to do something incredible: watch every car and person in real time as they ebbed and flowed around the city. Every assault, every purse snatched, every car speeding away was on record—all thanks to an Ohio company that monitors cities from the air. Read More >>

cities
Berlin is Threatened From Below by its Rising Water Table

While the American West stumbles forward into an already dangerous drought—and it's barely even summer—Berliners are simply not using enough water. This means that the city's water table is now on the rise, and it's beginning to threaten the city's buildings from below. Read More >>

drones
Spray-Painting Graffiti Drone Not Nearly as Effective as You'd Think

Robots may be taking our jobs throughout agriculture and industry, but the the duty of defacing architecture is likely to remain in the hands of humans for the immediate future if this semi-autonomous spray-paint drone is any evidence. Read More >>

bicycles
Bike Lanes Don't Cause Traffic (If You Put Them in the Right Place)

The battle against bike lanes has turned into an all-out culture war over in the US, with NIMBYs shrieking about ceding a few feet of precious road while squawking about the apocalyptic congestion that change will bring. But here's a deep, data-driven investigation into the truth about bike lanes and traffic. Read More >>

architecture
A Tour of the Tallest Residential Tower in Africa

Skyscrapers tend to become lightening rods for the neighbourhoods they're in—and nowhere is that more true than in Johannesburg's Ponte City, a hulking 54-story tower has gone from Apartheid enclave to drug dealer haven to symbol of urban renewal. Read More >>

science
Can Lasers Protect Buildings From Lightning?

The standard advice authorities offer when lightning starts crackling across the sky is for people to take shelter inside buildings. Through lightning rods affixed to the roof, electrical wiring, and plumbing that can direct the electricity away from occupants and into the ground, substantial structures offer protection. Read More >>

architecture
Why Istanbul Wants to Build the World's Busiest Airport

Back in 2013, when Istanbul was still competing to host the 2020 Olympics, the city announced plans to build "the world's largest and busiest airport terminal." The Olympic bid ended up failing—but Istanbul still wants to build its mega-airport. Read More >>

architecture
These Bamboo Micro-Homes Would Turn Abandoned Buildings Into Villages

As China designs a roadmap to bring 100 million rural citizens into cities over the next five years, it and other booming east Asian countries will confront a problem that's been around since the 1980s: The massive housing shortage and the illegal dwellings that result. Two architects think they've found a temporary solution in bamboo. Read More >>

locations
Why do Chinese Investors Want to Build a Dubai-Style City in Kenya?

A coalition of 100 investors announced plans to build a "Chinese-controlled economic zone" populated by skyscrapers and luxury residences. Their new city will be in Kenya, but the goal is to "match the glamour of Dubai." What would motivate investors to go to the trouble of building a massive new city in a country other than their own? It's pretty simple, actually. Read More >>

olympics
How to Design a Smarter Olympics Bid

The Olympic Games are often a bittersweet milestone for a city, filled with economic and political ups and downs. But it would appear that Oslo's 2022 aspirations are set for success in the hands of Norwegian design firm Snøhetta, which has executed one of the most elegant Olympic bids in history. Read More >>

design
What if all the World's Subway Maps Were Designed By the Same Person?

Transit maps are as unique as the cities they represent. To know Tokyo's subway, you have to know the quirks of its subway map; to navigate NYC, you have to familiarise yourself with its mapping idiosyncrasies, too. But what if design was standardised across every city in the world? Read More >>

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