Sprawl

Sustainable Farming

Incredible shrinking farmland

Photo: Alicia Guy Joel Huesby comes from a long line of conventional farmers, but in 1994, he had what he calls an epiphany that led him to switch to organic farming. He’s of the mind that we’ll drive ourselves to extinction if we drive our farmlands that way first. “Conventional commodity agriculture, to my way of looking at it, is standing in the boots of a dead man with toothpicks holding his eyes open,” he said. “It looks alive but it’s not. I don’t see that as the future.” Through years of trial and error, Huesby and his family found …

Mexico City’s ‘earthscraper’ would be a 1,000-foot underground building

BNKR Arquitectura wants to build a pyramid that penetrates nearly 1000 feet into the earth below Mexico City's largest and most historic public square. Its upper floors will be illuminated through a glass ceiling that will replace the paving stones of the current square, and its deepest reaches will receive daylight piped in from fiber-optic cables routed to the surface. It's called an "earthscraper," and it's a unique solution to a problem affecting almost every large, historical city on earth. You can't build skyscrapers on what little undeveloped land is left in Mexico City, on account of height restrictions. Historical …

Population

Stop the ‘man swarm,’ save the wild world

Let’s leave some room for everybody else. Photo: Robin PittmanMore of our kind means fewer wild things. A stabilized human population means hope for wild things. A shrinking human population means a better world for wild things — and for men and women and children. It’s that straightforward. The human population grew more in the last 40 years than in the previous 3 million. The population bomb has blown up — but the shrapnel hasn’t yet hit us hard. What it has hit hard are wild things. The outcomes of humanity’s growth yesterday, today, and tomorrow are scalped wildlands, endangered …

Ten years of car commuting could cost you $125,000

A lot of home buyers are pushing out into the exurbs because the houses are cheaper there -- but long commutes come with hidden costs that could seriously dent any money you might save on a mortgage. A personal finance blogger with the trust-inspiring nom de plume of Mr. Money Mustache (okay, so he's a mustache, but it's a MONEY mustache!) has calculated that a two-car commute of 19 miles each way would cost a couple $125,000 over 10 years. That makes a $250,000 home into a $375,000 home, but all you get for your extra money is a tension headache.

Cities

Stranded in suburbia: Why aren’t Americans moving to the city?

It's going to take more than wishful thinking to convince Americans to move back to the urban core.

Cities

City Limits: 'Urbanized' underestimates the allure of the 'burbs

The creator of Helvetica produces Urbanized, a gorgeous, smart, and slightly out of touch ode to the city.

Sprawl

The curse of the exurbs

Sprawling, farther-off suburbs like Yorkville, Ill., boomed during the housing bubble, but have taken a terrific tumble in the crash.

Infrastructure

Breaking free from the infrastructure cult of roads

A report from the American Society of Civil Engineers touts misguided and outdated strategies for infrastructure spending.

Good lord, American homes are huge

This infographic from the BBC shows how much newly built North American, and especially U.S., homes dwarf those currently being built in Europe. The average new U.S. home is more than twice as big as the average new home in the U.K.

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