A male janitor stands and bends over a urinal in a bathroom, scrubbing the porcelain with a detergent.

A Short History of the Public Restroom

How come it's so hard to go in sweet privacy when you're out and about?
Downtown Los Angeles skyline

How to Plant Trees in the City: It’s Complicated

Trees in cities have the ability to sequester carbon, provide shade, and mitigate flooding. But no one tree fits all environments.
Freeways in Los Angeles

The Permanent Crisis of Infrastructure

Ever since it entered public consciousness in the 1980s, infrastructure has been synonymous with decline.
A postcard for the Derby Arboretum

Uplifting the Masses with Public Parks

Created in Victorian England, the earliest public parks were on a civilizing mission.
A wall of security cameras in Toronto, Canada

Are Smart Cities a Wise Idea?

When Google runs a smart city, who owns the data?
A large tree with moss-covered roots.

How Trees Can Save Lakes From Algae Blooms

In addition to cleaning air pollution, trees absorb excess nutrients from soil, preventing algae blooms in waterways.
A person saving a parking spot by laying down on the concrete.

When Did We Start Paying to Park Our Cars?

A Curious Reader asks: When and why did parking become monetized?
Los Angeles

Why Is It So Much Hotter in the City?

On a sunny day, a city can be several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. Could better building materials make cities absorb less heat?

Buzzing In at the “Bee & Bee”

City gardens and hotel rooftops can serve as refuges—and food corridors—for the troubled species.
A flood in St Mark's Square in Venice

Our Sinking Cities

From Venice to Tehran to Shanghai, many cities are steadily sinking into the earth. There might not be any way to stop it.