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urban planning

9 articles
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Forensic Topology

How architecture has made Los Angeles a bank robber’s paradise.

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What Lies Beneath

Exploring the vast underground world of New York City with three of the people who know it best.

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The Land That Time and Money Forgot

On New York City’s housing projects.

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Why Johnny Can't Ride

“What are you doing here?” Loggins asked Janette. Janette thought this an odd question. “It’s Bike to Work Day,” she said. “Did you ride your bike to school?”“Bicycling isn’t allowed at Maple Avenue School,” said Loggins. Janette did a double take. “You’re kidding me,” she said. “Right?”

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Tomorrowland

On Astana, the grandiose new capital that Kazakhstan built on the site of a remote Tsarist fort, and its striving young inhabitants.

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The Ghost of Wrath

Part one of a planned nine-part serialized biography of Harrison Gray Otis, the “inventor of modern Los Angeles.”

Future installments will include Otis’s interlude as “emperor of the Pribilofs,” his military atrocities in the Philippines, his bitter legal battles with the Theosophists, the Otis-Chandler empire in the Mexicali Valley, the Times bombing in 1910, the notorious discovery of fellatio in Long Beach, and Otis’s quixotic plan for world government.
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Burning Man and the Metropolis

When (temporary) cities swell; a short history of the Burning Man festival.

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A Physicist Solves the City

“Look, we all know that every city is unique. That’s all we talk about when we talk about cities, those things that make New York different from L.A., or Tokyo different from Albuquerque. But focusing on those differences misses the point. Sure, there are differences, but different from what? We’ve found the what.”

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In Search of Lost Paris

“Most cities spread like inkblots; a few, such as Manhattan, grew in linear increments. Paris expanded in concentric rings, approximately shown by the spiral numeration of its arrondissements.”