TOPIC

Design

Digital Frictions

Unruly Bits

New digital technologies promise to fix common bugs and glitches in construction. But as the story of the world’s second-tallest modular tower reveals, the labor, politics, and material complexity of building don’t always follow rules of computation.

The Big Picture

28 pounds, 450,000 words, 800 photographs, 200 maps. 50 years on, what can NYC’s only comprehensive plan teach us about envisioning a collective urban future?

Digital Frictions

Tools of Collective Intelligence

As building technologies from doorbells to thermostats claim to become ever “smarter,” how do they mesh with the social life of shared spaces?

Citymakers

Signs of the Times

From small and ubiquitous markers to massive bespoke steel numerals, this longstanding Greenpoint signage company helps New Yorkers navigate the city.

In the Hudson's Image

For activists, scientists, and designers, images from the river's past hold the key to imagining its future.

Shelf Life

We The News

As local newspapers dwindle, an artist revives New York’s classic newsstand to collect and circulate more diverse stories about immigration.

The Private Lives of Public Schools

When it comes to building schools, a little-known entity with radical roots has had an outsize effect on the city’s skyline. How can the Educational Construction Fund adapt an experimental ethos to changing times?

Circulation Desk

Waterfront Views

With so much of value under threat from rising seas and flooding rains, recent books reconsider our relation to the water’s edge.

Lavender Lane

Getting to the bottom of a mysterious streak of purple cropping up along Manhattan’s eastern edge.

The New Public Water

Drinking water is all around us, but just out of reach. Can simple tweaks to the city’s emergency infrastructure radically expand access to this precious resource?

An Urban System of Death

Density and displacement aren’t just problems for the living.

It Takes a Village to Weather a Storm

In Sheepshead Bay, designing for resilience at a scale somewhere between the city and the single-family house.

Beyond Resilience

Nearly six years after Sandy flooded basements and uprooted trees, Red Hook Houses is still in recovery. But designers from KPF and OLIN see a future brighter than survival, when infrastructure combines with art and the landscape rises above the waterline.

The Location of Justice: Futures

Reentry: Start Here

People returning to city life after time in prison will soon be able to find help at some branch libraries. How can designers help librarians create life-saving connections?

The Location of Justice: Systems

Where Care Meets Confinement

For doctors trying to provide mental health care to people who are incarcerated or detained by the New York City Department of Corrections, city jails pose a challenge — and provide an opportunity.

Intersections: Behind Closed Doors

House Proud

As a generation of queer pioneers reaches old age, new models of housing and community space leverage design to meet their needs.

Housing Brass Tacks

What Can Architects Do?

In the thorny thicket of housing problems, from cost to supply to quality, what roles can architects play? Architects Susanne Schindler, Jared Della Valle, and Deborah Gans offer possibilities.

The Location of Justice: Structures

What Jail Can't Do

Frank Greene and Kenneth Ricci discuss the changing paradigms of half a century of justice architecture and what we should ask — and expect — from courts and jails.

City as Playground

Artist Julia Jacquette and writer James Trainor discuss Jacquette's graphic memoir, Playground of My Mind, digging into the sandbox of their memories and a critical chapter in the history of New York City's public spaces.

Typecast: Row House

How Many Row Houses Are There in New York City?

In the latest installment of our Typecast series, Neil Freeman counts and maps New York's row houses — all 217,000 of them.