Public infrastructure is known for being utilitarian, uninspiring, and downright ugly. But not always. At first glance, this giant water storage system under Houston looks more like the pillared nave of an ancient cathedral. Now the lost space that’s larger than a football field is open for visits.
The catastrophic collapse of Washington State’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 launched intensive research into the aerodynamics of bridge design. Now a team of South Korean scientists have identified a geometric structure that can better withstand the complicated aerodynamic forces at play—and they found their…
Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, is sinking. In fact, by 2050, most of its structures will have collapsed into the iron mines below it. So engineers have embarked upon an ambitious project to move Kiruna—along with its 20,000 residents—two miles to the east. A new documentary explains exactly how they plan to…
There are few things on this planet I hate more than bottled water. Just the crinkling sound of someone wrapping their mouth around one of those squeaky garbage accordions fills me with rage. I stopped drinking it a long time ago—and you should stop drinking it, too.
The World Trade Center Transit Hub—aka The (other) Oculus—has already gone down in history as the most expensive train station, ever. The grand total was $4 billion, about twice what it was supposed to cost, and more than the skyscraper adjacent to it. But there might be another record-breaking figure associated with…
Lead poisoning the drinking water of Flint is the worst possible disaster. It’s a breakdown of urban systems that could’ve been avoided. It’s an instance of smarmy politicians lying to their constituents. It’s one of the scariest stories I’ve had to write about in some time. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust the…
The lead contamination crisis in Flint has resulted in a tidal wave of bottled water being shipped to the state to provide emergency drinking water for residents. Flint’s most famous resident, Michael Moore, recently pleaded with the world: Please, do not send any more bottled water.
China is known for building ambitious infrastructure projects, and finding humans to populate them after the fact. Sometimes, it doesn’t go according to plan. This is one of those times.
The American government is officially putting a giant vote of confidence behind self-driving cars. And the cash to back it up.
Crews working on water mains below New York City’s Greenwich Village made an appropriately spooky find for the week after Halloween: A 19th-century burial vault containing the remains of least a dozen people.
The Subway, the El, the Tube, the Métro: Trains have been transporting humans around cities since 1863. But too many public transit systems still run like they’re stuck in the 19th century. That needs to change.
This weekend, Pope Francis’s historic trip to Philadelphia is expected to draw 1.5 million visitors into the city — literally doubling our population overnight. While most Philadelphians (myself included) are excited to be part of the hullabaloo, one can’t help but notice how His Holiness’s imminent arrival is turning…
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the US Pacific Northwest could face a 1-in-10 chance of a suffering a catastrophic, 9.0 earthquake within the next 50 years. We have to do a better job preparing for it. That’s where Japan comes in.
Conner Griffith combined images from Google Earth, Wikipedia, the Rhode Island School of Design’s Picture and Materials collections, and his own photography to create “Ripple,” a concise, top-down overview of the shapes we use to organize the world.
No-one lives in a city because they enjoy being surrounded by hulking concrete monoliths. Thanks to this mapping tool from Portland State University, you can now see exactly how lacking your city in the tree department.
The most popular artificial material on Earth isn’t steel, plastic, or aluminum — it’s concrete. Thousands of years ago, we used it to build civilizations, but then our knowledge of how to make it was lost. Here’s how we discovered concrete, forgot it, and then finally cracked the mystery of what makes it so strong.
When it comes to flood preparation, what seems like a good solution today might be making things worse in the long run.
The Spratly islands are not a natural spot for a layover. They are isolated—tiny, shallow islands spread out over a huge chunk of the South China Sea. So why are so many nations rushing to construct airline runways and other infrastructure there?
In two years, a one-of-a-kind construction project will commence over a canal in Amsterdam. It won’t involve any humans at all, but rather, a six-axis robot that can craft molten metal in mid-air. Two months later, a 24 foot-long steel pedestrian bridge will arc its way across the water.
The drought is no longer a California problem. The Colorado River, which supplies water to one-eighth of the country’s population, is reporting record low water levels due to overallocation. The US needs a little perspective when it comes to how bad this is going to get. Luckily we have one: Australia.