We now know, for example, that buildings and cities can affect our mood and well-being, and that specialised cells in the hippocampal region of our brains are attuned to the geometry and arrangement of the spaces we inhabit.
Yet urban architects have often paid scant attention to the potential cognitive effects of their creations on a city’s inhabitants. The imperative to design something unique and individual tends to override considerations of how it might shape the behaviours of those who will live with it. That could be about to change.
When it came to choosing the exact location of the first tunnel spanning the Bosporus—the narrow strait that divides the European and Asian sides of Istanbul and links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara—one of the principal considerations was how to avoid encountering any archeological marvels.
Well, almost nobody. Kangbashi is one of hundreds of sparkling new cities sitting relatively empty throughout China, built by a government eager to urbanize the country but shunned by people unable to afford it or hesitant to leave the rural communities they know. Chicago photographer Kai Caemmerer visited Kangbashi and two other cities for his ongoing series Unborn Cities. The photos capture the eerie sensation of standing on a silent street surrounded by empty skyscrapers and public spaces devoid of life. “These cities felt slightly surreal and almost uncanny,” Caemmerer says, “which I think is a product of both the newness of these places and the relative lack of people within them.”
The ghosts of the Parisian underground could soon be resurrected if city voters play their cards right in the upcoming mayoral elections. Promising candidate, Nathalie Koziuscot-Morizet, who would become the first female to ever hold the post in the capital, has released the first sketches of her plans to reclaim the city of light’s abandoned stations.
That’s because, although Anchorage is experiencing unusually balmy winters right now, the city is positioned to actually benefit from climate change. “Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century,” Camilo Mora, a University of Hawaii geographer told The New York Times last year. A study he published in Nature backed that idea up by suggesting that Anchorage won’t face extreme temperatures until 2071.
Ms. Menard’s suburban Los Angeles street of ranch houses, Cody Road, has turned into a thoroughfare with enough gridlock to make Times Square at rush hour feel tranquil. On early mornings when headlights are still needed, it resembles one long funeral procession.
The culprit: Waze, the popular app owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google that provides alternate routes to busy boulevards and packed freeways. Launched in 2007, Waze has 50 million users world-wide and about two million in Los Angeles, its biggest U.S. market.
The test lab was built with $225,000 raised on Kickstarter and sees 60 species of plants growing in conditions that simulate the underground space. It is only a fifth of the size of the trolley terminal site, which will use a system of pipes to funnel natural light, and magnify it to 30 times the intensity of regular sunlight.
Toronto, the fourth-largest city in North America and home to over 2.6 million Canadians, is expected to grow by almost 36 percent by the year 2030. Many urban planning and design scholars are already voicing concerns that Toronto ison its way to becoming “Manhattanized” with smaller housing units, constant development, and more glass high-rises. But what of the community gardens and the pedestrians?