How Farming Almost Destroyed Ancient Human Civilization

Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization. » 11/17/14 2:50pm 11/17/14 2:50pm

After 25 Years, the Berlin Wall Still Haunts City Residents

It's been a quarter of a century since the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the city is still marked by the architectural remains from a generation of Soviet occupation. A new study of the city's residents suggests that east and west Berlin remain culturally divided too — though they are still happy with their lives… » 11/06/14 1:27pm 11/06/14 1:27pm

Why Are So Many People Living Underground in Beijing?

With a population of 23 million and growing, Beijing is dealing with a major housing shortage. That's why thousands of immigrants looking for affordable homes in the city are going underground — literally and figuratively. A thriving gray market exists for windowless apartments buried deep below the streets. » 10/10/14 4:30pm 10/10/14 4:30pm

Maps of City Growth Over the Past Century Are Actually Shocking

It's one thing to know that cities are growing larger, and that over half the human population lives in a city. But when you see these maps charting the growth of megacities since the early 1900s ... well, it's stunning. It's especially incredible when you realize most cities exploded in size over the past 50 years. » 10/07/14 11:46am 10/07/14 11:46am

Archaeologists Have Discovered a Very Naughty Puritan in Boston's Past

Boston is a goldmine for urban archaeologists. The city's history goes back hundreds of years, and construction projects often unearth caches of historical items that are have been almost perfectly preserved. Such is the case with a buried outhouse, which revealed the naughty life of the lady who used it. » 9/12/14 12:33pm 9/12/14 12:33pm

Why City-Dwellers Don't Evacuate In Emergencies

After major urban disasters, there are always stories about the stubborn people who refused to evacuate. They've survived incredible danger, or worse, they haven't survived at all. But this isn't because they're foolhardy. There are good reasons that people stay in their homes, to protect their property at all costs. » 7/17/14 7:25pm 7/17/14 7:25pm

The Most Popular Sport in North America 900 Years Ago

Beneath the freeways of East St. Louis in Illinois there lie the ruins of a city built nearly a millennium ago, around towering earthen pyramids. Today called Cahokia, it held as many as 40 thousand people, and their influence spread throughout the southeast U.S. — mostly due the popularity of a game called chunkey. » 7/14/14 11:18am 7/14/14 11:18am

If You Want to Understand Cities in the 21st Century, Read This Essay

In 2008, a young model from rural Canada was brutally murdered in a Shanghai apartment building. The story of how her assailant was (maybe) caught, chronicled by journalist Mara Hvistendahl her engrossing essay And the City Swallowed Them, reveals how 21st century cities are changing the world. » 6/26/14 6:26pm 6/26/14 6:26pm