cities

This Dreamy Drone Tour Shows The Rebirth Of Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles’s swiftly mutating downtown district is usually viewed at street level. Now, thanks to filmmaker Ian Wood, we get a top-down perspective of the city’s transformation in this gorgeous video, which he shot with a lightweight remote-controlled quadcopter and camera system. 20 stories up, there’s change afoot as well.


NASA Made An Underground Water Map To See Just How Bad The US Drought Is

News about the drought that has engulfed most of the western United States continues to get worse. But how do we know how extensive the current megadrought is? We actually can measure from the sky, but not in the way you think.


This 45-Storey Slum Could Finally Become A Finished Skyscraper

There is perhaps no unfinished skyscraper more infamous than Torre de David, a 45-storey shell of a building that has informally housed about 5000 Venezuelans since 2007. Now the property that has become known as the world’s tallest slum is being acquired by Chinese investors, and this week, the government began evicting residents.


How To Scan 80km Of Historical Documents Into An Online Archive

Tracking the lightning quick development of modern cities is easy with Google Street View, but a big new project aims to provide context for the past 1000 years of urban evolution in Venice, Italy. The Venice Time Machine will digitise and catalogue a staggering amount of historical documents — a combined 80km worth of shelves! — then turn the data into an internet archive and adaptable 3D model.


Google Maps App Now Gives Suggestions Based On Weather And Time Of Day

The Google Maps app has proved invaluable for the intrepid urban explorer in navigating the city. Now, a new update for iOS and Android can provide specific contextual details about what’s around you depending on your location, time of day, and even the weather. So if it’s raining (or about to), it will warn against going to a nearby park, for example.


7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves For Bikes

The number of bikes in our cities is increasing, and with that increase we’re also seeing some major changes in the way cities are designed. Engineers are giving bikes their own bridges, tunnels, overpasses, even escalators, making biking feel like it’s an essential, permanent part of the city.


The Lattice Of Tubes Covering This Building Are A Natural AC System

If you have ever sweated through a summer in the city, you can thank those skyscrapers all around. Tall buildings trap heat that create urban heat islands. But what if you could create a building that cools the city instead? A building skin made of a series of tubes with evaporating rainwater can do just that.


Why No One Bothers Putting Apostrophes In 'Don't Walk' Signs

No one is sure when exactly the first WALK/DONT WALK style signs were installed. Even the Federal Highway Administration isn’t sure, though it is thought that the first such sign was likely installed sometime in the early to mid-1930s.


Why Google Is So Interested In Kenya's Public Transport System

The thousands of graphics-covered minibuses called matatus that zip through Nairobi make up one of the largest (and liveliest) informal transportation systems in the world. This unregulated — some might say renegade — transit keeps the city moving rather efficiently, and, until recently, was an all-cash business. Until Google stepped in.


6 Buildings Competing For The UK's Top Architecture Prize

The Stirling Prize is one of the most prestigious of all architecture awards. Named for the great British architect James Stirling, the prize is given annually from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to a single building that has made the greatest contribution to British architecture. The shortlist has just been announced.