Rust Belt chic: Can gritty, beaten down cities find their inner cool?

Half of urban renewal relies on changing a blighted city’s image. So why are city rebranding campaigns such notorious failures?


MIT students invent bike helmet vending machine

Bikeshares are a really smart idea, so participants obviously know how to use their brains — but they apparently don’t know how to protect them. Helmet use on bikeshare bikes is pretty abysmal — data from Boston’s bikeshare program show …


Go cargo: Utility bikes take cities by storm

One of the most common excuses for using gas power rather than pedal power goes something like this: “But I can’t take the kids/dog/groceries along on my bike.” The cargo bicycle eliminates that excuse.


Spectacular wooden bikes made from salvaged urban trees

The Giving Tree should be ashamed of herself. Oh, sure, she let herself be made into a boat and a house and an uncomfortable metaphor for maternal martyrdom, but did she ever turn into a completely sweet-ass bike? Not a …


High gas prices? Whatevs — my phone gets me where I want to go

Given the choice between a car and a smartphone, young people increasingly opt for the phone. Why? Owning a car is sooooo last century. Plus, a phone is increasingly the best way to get around.


Tightening the Rust Belt: How a Clevelander fell in love with Pittsburgh

During a week spent fixing up an old house, including a glamorous MLK Day hanging out in a dumpster, one young urbanite fell prey to the charms of the Steel City -- and its ability to turn abandonment into opportunity.

Urban Agriculture

Mexico City’s urbanization threatens ancient ‘floating gardens’

Chinampas, or floating gardens -- small artificial islands full of crops, built up on shallow lake beds -- once sustained the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, producing multiple harvests every year. They still exist in Mexico City, for now.


Hot tram! Old trolleys are the new classic cars [SLIDESHOW]

After nearly going extinct in the ’60s, vintage streetcars are returning to the rails in downtowns from Philly to San Francisco. Here's what it looks like when mass transit goes retro.


New revelations about how Fukushima almost forced the evacuation of Tokyo

During the most dire period in the Fukushima meltdown, the president of Japanese utility company Tepco tried to evacuate all workers at the stricken reactor. If that order went through, it would have precipitated a worst-case scenario and ultimately the …