Library as Infrastructure
On Places, Shannon Mattern considers the many faces of the public library, from social service center to innovation lab, and asks just how far we can stretch the library’s program.
Interfacing Urban Intelligence
On Places, Shannon Mattern argues that as we enter the era of so-called “smart” cities, we need to consider the point of engagement where citizens interface with the city’s operating system.
On Places, Sandy Isenstadt explores our remarkable new era of urban lighting design and technology, which is inspiring "entirely new ways of thinking about the city at night."
Peter Bo Rappmund
800 Miles: Photographing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
On Places, a portfolio of photographs by Peter Bo Rappmund, who has documented nearly every mile of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
On Places, urban forecaster Anthony Townsend considers the vulnerability of smart cities to power failures, hackers and software bugs.
09.19.13: Jamie Kruse & Elizabeth Ellsworth
Look Only at the Movement
On Places, a documentary project by Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth of Smudge Studio, focusing on the materiality of nuclear waste transport.
On Places, Shannon Mattern explores how media scholars and environmental artists are working to reveal the material and immaterial infrastructures that shape our lives, from the Interstate to the Internet.
Who's Your Data?
On Places, Carl Skelton argues that the public needs new tools of citizenship to participate fully in the digital cities of the near future.
Eric W. Sanderson
Roads to Rails
On Places, Eric W. Sanderson lays out his plan for a modern streetcar revival, supported by municipal investment in urban rail.
The City and the Sea
On Places, Tom Vanderbilt surveys the landscape and politics of New York City after Hurricane Sandy, focusing on both early response and long-range planning.
The Forgotten Line
On Places, photographer Thomas Jorion documents la petite ceinture
, the abandoned railway line that circles Paris, and remains the city's last great wasteland.
“We shall deal here with humble things”
On Places, Barbara Penner considers the design, culture and politics of the bathroom — and how "this smallest of domestic rooms is linked to the larger worlds of engineering and infrastructure."
What the Nation’s Best-Educated Amateur Planners Learned from Hurricane Isaac. And Gustav. And Rita and Katrina. And Cindy, Ivan, Lili, Isidore, and Georges.
On Places, geographer Richard Campanella analyzes the many lessons that New Orleanians have learned from weathering powerful hurricanes — and he argues that the toughest test is yet to come.
Rolling to a Stop
On Places, Ian Baldwin reviews ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking
and Reinventing the Automobile.
Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft
On Places, Keller Easterling explores the phenomenal rise of the free zone — an opportunistic urban hybrid that's powered the rise of glittering world cities like Singapore and Dubai.
The Trash Heap of History
On Places, Michael Ezban explores the past and present of Monte Testacccio, the great landfill of imperial Rome — and finds a precedent for contemporary landfill reclamation projects.
03.21.12: Hadley Arnold & Peter Arnold
Drylands: Water and the West
On Places, an essay and slideshow by Peter Arnold and Hadley Arnold of the Arid Lands Institute, on what they call "the largest and least understood environmental challenge of the 21st century."
On Places, Austin Troy assesses the massive infrastructure required to bring water to the arid American West — and the huge amount of energy that makes it possible to take a shower in Los Angeles.
Road Ecology: Wildlife Habitat and Highway Design
On Places, Laura Tepper looks at the emerging field of road ecology and its influence on a new generation of highway landscape design.
Below the Sill Plate: New Orleans East Struggles to Recover
On Places, architect Deborah Gans describes a multi-year effort to rebuild neighborhoods in post-Katrina New Orleans — and the limited results to date.
In Motion: The Experience of Travel
On Places, Ray Gastil reviews In Motion: The Experience of Travel
, the latest book by Tony Hiss.
Dreams, Dust and Birds: The Trashing of Owens Lake
On Places, Karen Piper narrates the latest chapter in one California's longest water wars: Los Angeles' efforts to undo the environmental damage done to Owens Lake, decades after its waters were diverted to supply the thirsty metropolis.
Infrastructural Ecologies: Principles for Post-Industrial Public Works
On Places, architect Hillary Brown, founder of New York City's Office of Sustainable Design, proposes principles to guide construction of a next generation of green infrastructure.
Center for Urban Pedagogy
The Water Underground
On Places, watch The Water Underground
, a video from the Center for Urban Pedagogy that tracks the complex — and contested — systems of water supply, treatment and waste that serve New York City.
04.22.10: Paho Mann & Nancy Levinson
The Art of Solid Waste
On Places, a slideshow of photographer Paho Mann's images of post-consumer detritus — a.k.a. trash — part of a new public art project at a solid waste facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
Architect, Park Thyself
The auto-urban relationship, writes Ian Baldwin, is "fumbling, overheated, unsatisfying for both parties." Baldwin reviews House of Cars: Innovation and the Parking Garage
, currently on exhibit at the National Building Museum, and The Architecture of Parking
, by Simon Henley.
Dams Across America
A gallery of images showing the construction of some great U.S. hydroelectric dams of the 1930s and '40s, including Hoover and Grand Coulee — something to contemplate as the current administration struggles to stimulate the economy and smarten the power grid.
The Public Works
Why isn't the Great Recession inspiring a new New Deal? The essential dilemma, argues Places editor Nancy Levinson, is that we no longer believe in public sector solutions — or even in the public itself.
Working Public Architecture
Can we envision a contemporary counterpart to the New Deal of the 1930s? Architect Linda Samuels reports on WPA 2.0, the ambitious competition and symposium created by cityLab at UCLA.
Much U.S. infrastructure is "fracture critical" — vulnerable to catastrophic and systemic failure; Thomas Fisher argues that our finance, housing and energy systems are fracture-critical as well.
Niagara: It Has It All
Architectural historian Barbara Penner reviews Inventing Niagara
, by Ginger Strand, drawing out the contradictory mix of reverence and exploitation inspired by the famous falls.
The Infrastructural City
Los Angeles depends upon vast infrastructural systems that are breathtakingly powerful, yet vulnerable to disruption, even disaster. Landscape architect Chris Reed reviews The Infrastructural City
Learning from New Orleans, or why we really need a new New Deal.
10.15.08: Guy Nordenson, Catherine Seavitt & Adam Yarinsky
On the Water: The New York/New Jersey Harbor
As the planet warms, rising seas will endanger coastal communities around the world. Engineer Guy Nordenson proposes a bold plan to protect New York City.