The Top 13 Stories Of 2013

Read our very best stories of the year–from sexy Mars astronaut suits to microapartments in Japan to reinventing condoms. Plus the happiest and smartest cities in the world!


As 2013 draws to a close, we’ve taken a look back at the last year and the stories that you–our readers–found the most compelling. Here’s one simple way to sum up nearly all of them: People are deeply concerned about their happiness and well-being, and how where they live effects that. Many of our stories that brought the most clicks and discussion were about the happiest countries, the happiest cities, the smartest cities, and how what part of America you live in defines your attitude about life. Then, of course, there are underwear that stops your farts from smelling, a reinvented condom, and a high-design house that could be yours for just $20,000.


Thanks for reading these and our countless other stories throughout the year. We have big things planned for 2014, so please stick around.

1: This Sleek Spiderman Spacesuit Could Take Astronauts To Mars

When humans go to live on Mars, those 300-pound space suits are going to get old fast. The Biosuit, with its tight-fitting Spiderman look, could make exploring the red planet a bit sexier.

2: The 10 Smartest Cities In North America

Which cities are doing the most to become the sustainable, connected, innovative city of the future?


3: This Impeccably Designed $20,000 House Could Soon Be Yours

For years, students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio have been building cheap houses for impoverished locals. Now their designs are going mass market.

4: The 10 Happiest States In The U.S.

It’s not surprising that people in Hawaii are super happy. But the other states whose residents feel the best might surprise you.

5: A Reinvented Condom You Actually Want To Wear, Coming Soon From The Gates Foundation


They’re looking for a more pleasurable STD and pregnancy prevention device that people will actually use. They already have proposals for one made out of silicone and one made out of–we’re serious–electrically spun fabric. What else will condom innovators come up with?

6: The 10 Happiest Cities In The World

What makes these cities’ residents happier than anywhere else?

7: A New Map Of The U.S., Created By How Our Dollar Bills Move

Using a site that tracks dollar bills, a theoretical physicist noticed that our state boundaries are rather arbitrary, but that money tends to stay within new, more realistic boundaries.


8: A 600-Foot-Tall City On Wheels, For When It’s Time To Get Away From It All

Cities are so … static. The Very Large Structure will let an urban population just roll down the road if commerce or resources dry up.

9: 8 New Jobs People Will Have In 2025

New technologies will change the kinds of jobs people have in the coming years. Don’t be surprised if one day you’ve taken on the position of microbial balancer, corporate disorganizer, or urban shepherd.

10: These High-Tech Underwear Keep Your Farts From Smelling


True world-changing innovation.

11: Gorgeous Vintage Photographs Of America In The 1970s, Captured By The EPA

In the 1970s, the EPA commissioned photographers to take photos of the environment and the “human condition” of American life. The Documerica project’s photos have recently been unearthed, and you can see them now.

12: These Photos Of Tiny, Futuristic Japanese Apartments Show How Micro Micro-Apartments Can Be

Micro-apartments are in vogue today. But in Japan, people have been living in the Nakagin Capsule Tower’s 100-square-foot housing for decades.


8: There Are Three Americas Hiding Inside Our Country–Which Do You Live In?

America is divided by politics, economics, and geography. But it turns out that we also tend to cluster around people who act the same as us.

Read more of our best stories of the year in these categories: Top stories, infographics, photography, maps, buildings, design, cities, food, transportation, innovative workplaces, bikes, collaborative consumption, energy, crowdfunding, robots, environment, health, education

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Impact section, formerly Have an idea for a story? You can reach him at mclendaniel [at]