An Underground Park And Paris Without Cars: 2016 In Urban Innovation

Plus a trip to Rotterdam, the surprising world capital of sustainable urban design.


In the future, more and more people will live in cities. They’re efficient and, despite appearances, a pretty green way to manage millions of people. But they can also be bleak, noisy, dirty placers to live and work.


In 2016, we saw cars being pushed out of our cities in earnest, with Paris not only redesigning its biggest intersections to favor pedestrians, but closing down whole stretches of inner-city highway and turning it into boulevards.

Meanwhile, homes are getting greener, figuratively and literally. In Italy, kids plant crops in pre-school urban farms, in Paris you will be able to live on a giant forest island straddling a road, and in New York and Berlin, people are moving underground.

Worldwide, 2016 has been something of a nightmare year, but in our cities at least, there is a glimmer of hope for the future.

1: I Tried Living In This Tiny House On A Vacant Lot In Amsterdam

Our own Adele Peters found out that in Amsterdam, even tiny, minimalist houses are bigger than her San Francisco apartment.


2: This Preschool Doubles As An Urban Farm

Instead of reading books about farming, these Italian kids go outside and get their hands dirty.

[Photo: Flickr user Matt Buck]

3: The Tube Map of London’s Long-Lost Secrets

(Virtually) visit London’s Leper Hospital, Japanese Village, Biscuit Town, and Bedlam.


4: Experimental City: How Rotterdam Became A World Leader In Sustainable Urban Design

People who live in glass houses… enjoy indoor veggie gardens, and watch the sunset from bed.

5: New York’s Holy Grail Transit Map Is Here: The Bus And Subway In One Place

One map to rule them all, one map to find your way around.

6: New York City Approves The Lowline, The World’s First Underground Park


When environmental disaster forces us to flee underground, New Yorkers will be able to take their strollers jogging in the Lowline.

[Photo: Flickr user Leon]

7: When Paris Closed A Major Road To Cars, Half Its Traffic Just Disappeared

What happens to all the traffic when you close a major city artery? Not much at all.

8: Paris Is Building A Floating Village In The Middle Of A Forest

How about an apartment built into a bridge covered in a 1,000-tree forest, with a view of the Eiffel Tower?


9: Paris Is Redesigning Its Major Intersections For Pedestrians, Not Cars

Paris’s war on cars returns public spaces to the people.

10: How Citizens Convinced Paris To Ban Cars For A Day

Paris proves that even a capital city can be silent and calm, if only you remove the plague of cars.

11: What Is This Mysterious Bedroom Doing In Berlin’s Subway Tunnels?


Art project? Troglodyte lair? Or just somebody trying to find an apartment in Berlin’s notoriously difficult rental market?

About the author

Previously found writing at, Cult of Mac and Straight No filter.