GieVR

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Will we live in buildings made out of waste, heavily surveilled smart cities, or maybe floating communities designed to cope with rising sea levels?<p>Amid the much-mythologised graffiti that appeared around Sorbonne University during the French civil unrest in May 1968, one line still stands out as …

Urbanism

To complement our 50-part series on the history of urbanisation, our readers shared fascinating stories of the cities we didn’t cover – from Bergamo to Isfahan<p>When the Snowy Mountains hydro and irrigation scheme was built in Australia in the 1950s, a whole town was deliberately flooded by a new …

Urbanism

When the Cheonggyecheon Stream replaced a traffic-filled stretch of elevated freeway with public space, water and vegetation it looked like a modern urbanist’s dream. The reality is more complicated, finds <b>Colin Marshall</b><p>In September 2005, the new Cheonggyecheon Stream opened in downtown Seoul, …

South Korea

Is this privately financed city project in the heart of occupied West Bank a momentous trailblazer, or a colossal folly? Harriet Sherwood pays a visit<p>In a hi-vis jacket and jeans, Shadia Jaradat pauses on a tour of Rawabi, a new city rising out of a West Bank hill, to point up at the top floor of …

Israel

Ebène Cybercity was built 15 years ago to create a modern working environment for Mauritians and bring a hi-tech hub to this island nation. So does it offer a roadmap for Africa - or a warning of problems ahead?<p>As the fruit bat flies, it’s only 300 metres from Cyber Tower 1 to the massive food …

Smart Cities

As the country opens up to the outside world, the old capital has become the latest playground for international developers, putting the city’s historic fabric under pressure. Will its people be able to keep up?<p>“Premium life for your dream,” announces a billboard beneath a new tower of serviced …

Asia

The richest and poorest residents of Argentina’s capital are separated by the walls of gated communities. When heavy rains in 2013 left those outside the barriers vulnerable to severe flooding, their only hope was to tear them down<p>On 2 April 2013, Matías Duarte awoke at three in the morning. For …

Argentina

Photographer and activist Richard Nickel spent much of his life battling to preserve Chicago’s diverse architecture. His death, while trying to save remnants of its Stock Exchange building, gave him ‘an almost mythic status’ in the city<p>Richard Nickel was missing. The photographer and …

Urbanism

Twenty-five years after it opened, Kenya has announced its third biggest ‘city’, the Dadaab refugee complex, is to be shut down. But for many residents, this sprawling slum in an inhospitable desert is the only home they know<p>Kenya’s third biggest city, after Nairobi and Mombasa, is not a city at …

Africa

In the 1970s, the World Trade Centre stood beyond the edge of the city and convinced the world that Dubai was open for business<p>There is a story told about Dubai’s World Trade Centre. It is about a businessman who came to the city in the early 1970s. He entered the court of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed …

Skyscrapers

Twenty-five years ago, Medellín was the most dangerous city on earth. Yet its most infamous criminal, Pablo Escobar, also helped create the conditions that sparked an extraordinary revival – by taking the city to the brink of collapse<p>“I’d never been to that neighbourhood before. It was a new world …

Urbanism

Civil rights activist Floyd McKissick dreamed of a southern utopia where the racially integrated community would be planned and managed by African Americans. Although the city was never completed, some traces remain<p>At first glance, this North Carolina town would have looked much like the thousands …

Urbanism

In the 60s Hamburg officials planned to demolish a fishing village to make space for a new container terminal. As port cities struggle to keep up with an ever-changing industry, how will Hamburg face the challenges of the next generation?<p>One morning in the late 80s, a pick-up truck full of sinister …

Container Ship

When Leo Houng arrived in Shenzhen in 1974, it was an unremarkable Chinese settlement that ‘smelled of countryside’. Since then, he has witnessed the city rise up at a bewildering rate – with little regard for the families caught in its path<p>“It should be here somewhere,” says Leo Houng, a retired …

Hong Kong

In the 1960s, Vancouver’s historic downtown was at risk of being razed for modern road projects – only for an extraordinary protest movement to turn the tide, helping transform it into one of North America’s most ‘liveable’ cities<p>Half a century on, Shirley Chan can still picture the freeway that …

Urban Design

As an architect and mayor, Jaime Lerner led the movement that transformed Curitiba into an environmentally friendly ‘laboratory for urban planning’. The secret? ‘We had to work fast to avoid our own bureaucracy’<p>In the late 1960s, Brasília cast a long shadow across Brazil. Built from scratch in just …

Brazil

While concrete was being poured across Europe’s cities, Denmark’s capital found itself at a crossroads: would it follow the car-centric vision of grand boulevards and streets in the sky – or keep its citizen-focused design?<p>“In the 60s and 70s, we thought that if you built huge blocks with …

Urbanism

Four decades on, Paolo Soleri’s revolutionary Arizona desert vision of super-dense living remains a work in progress. Oliver Wainwright meets the volunteers who haven’t given up hope in his fusion of architecture and ecology<p>A cluster of concrete domes and vaults rises above a rocky valley in the …

Architecture

Despite decades of mockery, the city’s modernist buildings and wide boulevards are now hailed as visionary. But as developers move in, could there be trouble in this urban paradise?<p>When the architects designing the centre of Milton Keynes in the early 1970s discovered its main street almost …

Urban Planning

In 1965, Chile launched a bold new policy which became infamous for officials’ use of white chalk to mark out plots of land for Santiago’s poorest families. Half a century on, did it really help those in need – or simply deepen social divisions?<p>Castor Castro was 14 years old when his family moved …

Housing

When city planning supremo Robert Moses proposed a road through Greenwich Village in 1955, he met opposition from one particularly feisty local resident: Jane Jacobs. It was the start of a decades-long struggle for swaths of New York<p>In 1961, Bennett Cerf, one of the founders of the publishing firm …

Urban Design

Macedonia’s capital was rebuilt after the 1963 earthquake with a cutting-edge modernist vision. Now, critics say the hollow Doric columns and clumsy statues of ‘antiquitisation’ are transforming the city into a mini-Las Vegas<p>“Changes like this usually happen through wars and natural disasters.”<p>The …

20th Century

In the 1960s, Luud Schimmelpennink devised the ‘white bike’ plan to counter the rise of pollution and cars. His invention has revolutionised public transport all over the world – so why has his cycle-loving home city never embraced it?<p>Take an old bicycle. Paint it white. Leave it anywhere in the …

Profit

When LA was stripped of its beloved streetcar in the 1960s, the city was quickly thrust into a traffic-clogged world of private cars and diesel buses. But with the involvement of automobile and oil companies, was this the work of a conspiracy?<p>The last train on the last line of greater Los Angeles’ …

Urban Design

Lee Kuan Yew’s vice-like grip on power helped create a byword for cleanliness, efficiency and safety. What lies beneath this ‘Disneyland with the death penalty’?<p>On 12 May 2015, a Singapore court sentenced Amos Yee, an outspoken 16-year-old video blogger who had been tried as an adult, to four weeks …

Lee Kuan Yew

The planners of independent India’s new capital failed spectacularly in their attempt to create a poverty-free modernist utopia. Their legacy is a sprawling city awash with slums and hampered by bureaucracy<p>In the late hours of 14 August 1947, on the eve of Indian independence, Jawaharlal Nehru …

India

Created in 1959 to lure foreign investors with tax breaks, the Shannon Free Zone proved revolutionary across the world. But in today’s world of looser trade and tax havens, Ireland’s innovators face an uphill battle to stay relevant<p>When Wen Jiabao visited the small Irish town of Shannon in 2005, it …

Globalization

In August 1945, a 16-kilotonne atomic bomb killed 140,000 people and reduced a thriving city to rubble. Hiroshima has been reborn as a place of peace and prosperity, but will memories of those dark days die with the last survivors?<p>The people of Hiroshima have developed a verbal shorthand for …

Japan

After the ruinous Hawke’s Bay earthquake, rebuilding a city in the midst of the Great Depression seemed impossible. But through artistry and enterprise, Napier became home to the highest concentration of art deco buildings in the world<p>The ground heaved sharply upward and children swarmed out of …

Art Deco

Hitler’s megalomaniacal project to raze much of Berlin and transform it into his global Nazi capital killed thousands. Today, its few remnants are chilling, mundane, even graceful – and inseparable from a barbaric chapter in history<p>Resembling a huge, ripe, cracked brie, one of the few remnants of …

Germany