Jason Romano

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America's Cult of Ignorance

More people are better educated than ever before, and knowledge is easier to come by. So why do we so often scorn those who plainly know more than we …

To Build a Great Public Space, You Need More Than Good Design

In low-income neighborhoods, even the best-designed parks and community centers go to waste if no one uses them. The nonprofit Kounkuey Design Initiative is taking that challenge head-on.<p>The late urbanist William H. Whyte famously observed the designsthat ruin public spaces, from excluding places …

A stylist’s five steps to make getting dressed easier

For some people, getting dressed in the morning is a joy. Good for them.<p>But for many men and women, the daily task of digging through an overstuffed closet to mix and match items of different fabrics, weights, and colors into something resembling a coherent outfit can take more time and brain power …

The Cars That Ate Paris

The City of Light surrendered its streets to the private automobile in the 1960s and ‘70s. Today, under siege from smog and traffic, Paris is leading some of Europe’s most aggressive efforts to fight back.<p>It’s rush hour in Paris, and here on the banks of the Seine during an early March evening, …

US Navy SEALs develop mental toughness by reinforcing one behavior

<i>This question originally appeared on Quora: How can the average person learn the skill of mental toughness without joining the military?</i> <i>Answer by Ronald Fry, author of Hammerhead Six.</i><p>Mental toughness is a state of mind. Anyone can develop the mental toughness of a solider without being part of the …

U.S. Air Force

Paris Is Redesigning Its Major Intersections For Pedestrians, Not Cars

The new designs make sure pedestrians get at least 50% of the public space, lanes of traffic be damned.<p>Right now, the Place de la Bastille in Paris is basically a traffic island: A huge memorial sits in the middle of a road packed with cars. There’s no way to easily cross the street on foot. But …

Urban Design

10 Essential Freehand Drawing Exercises for Architects

<i>The following excerpt was originally published in Natascha Meuser's</i> Construction and Design Manual: <b>Architecture Drawings</b> (DOM Publishers). <i>With our</i> …

Le Corbusier
Urban Design

Photographing the Souls of Megacities

This photographer embarked on a quest to commemorate the human sides of 22 bustling cities.<p>Is it possible to visualize the changing character of a city in one image? For the photographer Martin Roemers, that question has guided a project that spanned 22 megacities over eight years.<p>His series,</i> …

All under one roof: how malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable

Suburban malls may be a dying breed, but in cities from New York to Hong Kong, new malls are thriving by seamlessly blending into the urban fabric<p>“We didn’t expect to see stores,” says Yulia, as her husband browses for shoes in one of the shops lining the Oculus, the new focus of New York’s World …

Storytelling in Street Photography

Many street photography tutorials discuss the same topics over and over—focussing techniques, composition, candid shooting, etc. However, I believe …

Street Photography

An Italian Coffee Giant On The Future Of Sustainability

The chairman of the coffee roaster Illy talks about the future of business and why corporations need to care about sustainability.<p>Illy is perhaps one of the most recognized coffee businesses in the world. The Italian roaster has become synonymous with European espresso. It’s been family-run since …

Sustainability

The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates

Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment.<p>It’s a striking position from the world’s richest man and a self-described techno-optimist …

Bill Gates

Wastelands Reborn

Turning around abandoned urban spaces sometimes just takes a little imagination.<p><i>This post is part of a CityLab series on wastelands, and what we squander, discard, and fritter away.</i><p>But cities don’t just throw stuff away: They also recycle, often in wildly inventive ways. Here are a few reminders …

Seattle Plans To Improve Road Safety By Replacing Traffic Signals With Stop Signs

Just this one trick works remarkably well in reducing speed, crashes, and pedestrian fatalities. But for truly safe intersections, you need to remove the signs altogether.<p>Seattle may ditch traffic signals in order to make its streets safer. This counterintuitive move should slow traffic, and make …

How Heineken Mexico’s CEO Uses Purpose To Unleash The Power Of His Organization

Dolf van den Brink, the CEO of Heineken Mexico, is working to make the company more sustainable–and more engaged with society.<p>Heineken Mexico CEO, Dolf van den Brink, estimates that the company is saving several million dollars a year by selling their used paper bottle labels to paper companies to …

Tirana 2030: Watch How Nature and Urbanism Will Co-Exist in the Albanian Capital

In 1925, Italian designer Armando Brasini created a sweeping masterplan to transform the Albanian capital city of Tirana. Almost one hundred years …

These 5 Mindsets Make Nonprofits Successful

Simple lessons from a survey of the most successful aid organizations in India can be applied to nonprofits around the world.<p>Most major nonprofits face the challenge of having to make an impact, and scale that impact, using only scant resources. Those who succeed the best generally adhere to one of …

Harnessing The Power Of Nature To Improve Our Cities

<i>Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design / Island Press</i><p>People feel happier, healthier, and more social when they engage with nature. Their cognitive abilities go up and stress levels go down. So why is nature so often thought to be found only "out there" in the wilderness, or perhaps suburbia? …

Ecology

The Wastelands of Urban Renewal

Through large-scale demolition and clearance, American urban renewal waged a war on perceived waste—and created a new tide of it.<p><i>This post is part of a CityLab series on wastelands, and what we squander, discard, and fritter away.</i><p>“Urban renewal” is a phrase with loaded connotations in American …

An infrastructure deficit is making life in African cities more expensive than it should be

African cities are forecast to urbanize at a rate of 3.65% annually, adding nearly 350 million new city-dwellers by 2030, according to the Brookings Institution. A billion more people are expected to be living in African cities by 2063.<p>Population growth is the engine of urbanization for the …

Urbanization

Rethinking Urban Landscapes To Adapt to Rising Sea Levels

Sea levels are rising faster than they have in at least 28 centuries, according to recent research, and by 2100, they are expected to rise by one to …

Sea Level

How to create and maintain a strategic approach to design thinking

Design has evolved beyond making objects – organizations now want to learn how to think like designers, and apply design principles to the workplace itself.<p>One company at the forefront of this methodology is Philips.<p>Few globally reaching product companies have a 126-year history, and even fewer …

LinkedIn Just Rolled Out A Redesign—Here’s How To Clean Up Your Profile

Now that LinkedIn has a new look, it’s time to update your account–starting with these four cuts.<p>With its largest desktop redesign ever, LinkedIn is fighting the good fight against distraction. The 2017 updates make for less clutter across the platform and a more focused experience on every front, …

Employment

Why the Planet Earth II Episode on Cities Is So Startling

It gives us a glimpse of our strange future.<p>It used to happen a lot: Teetering home drunk and disconsolate late at night through the shadowy semi-suburbs of north London, I would turn a corner and find, staring placidly at me on the street, the silhouette of a fox.<p>Looking directly into the eyes of …

North London

How to stop an autocracy

The danger isn’t that Trump will build an autocracy. It’s that congressional Republicans will let him.<p>There is nothing about the Trump administration that should threaten America’s system of government. The Founding Fathers were realistic about the presence and popularity of demagogues. The …

Here’s The First Glow-In-The-Dark Bike Lane In The U.S.

At Texas A&M, no one will miss the new bike lane–just one part of this newly designed intersection with no traffic lights.<p>During the day, a bright green bike lane at a busy intersection on the Texas A&M campus soaks up the sun. At night, thanks to a photoluminescent mineral in the paint, it starts …

City presents three scenarios for megaproject over Sunnyside railyards

The results of a De Blasio approved feasibility study are now out<p>The transformation of Hudson Yards into a full-fledged neighborhood is still ongoing, but already several similar decking-over-railyards projects have been proposed across the city. Two of them have been proposed in the Bronx—one over …