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Vernacular Economics: How Building Codes & Taxes Shape Regional Architecture [ARTICLE]

Ever noticed how the bricks on newer British buildings are bigger, or stopped to appreciate hand-stenciled wallpaper, or enjoyed a sip from a fancy hollow-stemmed glass?

The Slash: 20-Foot Clearing Stretches 5,525 Miles Across World’s Longest Border [ARTICLE]

Camp Widjiwagan counselors have been known to tell young campers (including this author) certain tall tales as they ventured up through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota.

Thermal Delight [EPISODE]

In the summer of 1902, the Sackett and Wilhelms Lithography & Printing Company in Brooklyn, New York had a problem.

Outside the Lines: Manual Road Lettering & Symbol Painting Gone Wrong [ARTICLE]

There are tons of talented street-marking professionals in this world, able to work freehand or with limited tools or operate purpose-built painting machines.

Mini-Stories: Volume 4 [EPISODE]

Last holiday season, we started a tradition of collecting new short pieces by 99% Invisible producers into “mini-story” episodes.

Self-Contained Cities: Hyperdense Arcologies of Urban Fantasy & Utopian Fiction [ARTICLE]

Developed in the 1970s, the comic character Judge Dredd was originally set to occupy a dark futuristic version of New York City.

Plaque in Circulation: Deciphering Philadelphia’s Sidewalk Easement Markers [ARTICLE]

Philadelphia has been the backdrop for many key moments in American history and is thus home to a lot of monuments and markers.

Mini-Stories: Volume 3 [EPISODE]

At the end of last year, we started a tradition of collecting new short pieces by 99% Invisible producers into “mini-story” episodes.

Mobile Home Skyscrapers: The Elusive Dream of Vertical Urban Trailer Parks [ARTICLE]

In the trailer for Ready Player One, a science-fiction film set in a packed dystopia, we zoom in on our protagonist living in a dilapidated landscape of stacked “mobile homes” known aptly as “the Stacks.” The Stacks symbolize anything but mobility, either physical or economic — if anything, they ironically represent tragic levels of immobility.

Rooftop Roads: Ancient Iranian Town Where Roofs Serve as Public Spaces [ARTICLE]

Nestled into the steep slope of a mountain, this remarkable thousand-year-old village in northern Iran has evolved an unusual approach to open space: its rooftops double as public lanes and gathering places.

SCI-Arc Studio Constructs Private Facades to Craft the Public Imagination [ARTICLE]

This fall, SCI-Arc Graduate Program Chair Elena Manferdini is working with her students on the topic of facades.

Guerrilla Public Service [EPISODE]

At some point in your life you’ve probably encountered a problem in the built world where the fix was obvious to you.

The Flat-Pack, Can-Do Opener: 38+ Uses for the “Best Army Invention Ever” [ARTICLE]

The P-38‘s creator probably never imagined that the little can opener he devised during World War II would go on to become one of the 20th century’s most useful and portable multi-tools.

Leafy Neckdowns: Cornstarch, Water & Leaves Reshape Unsafe Intersection [ARTICLE]

In cold winter months, urban activists and designers have been known to observe where people walk or drive, then use that information to redraw streets and sidewalks.

The Nut Behind the Wheel [EPISODE]

In the past fifty years, the car crash death rate has dropped by nearly 80 percent in the United States.

Crash Course: Are We Headed for an Autonomous Utopia or Driverless Dystopia? [ARTICLE]

“Autonomy will change cities as much as cars did,” says Silicon Valley venture capitalist Benedict Evans.

The Stretcher Railing Society: Preserving WWII Artifacts Hidden in Plain Sight [ARTICLE]

All over London, upcycled stretchers from World War II can be found on public display — not as monuments or memorials, but as everyday elements of urban infrastructure.

A 700-Foot Mountain of Whipped Cream [EPISODE]

From in utero to the studio, Clive Desmond covers the golden age of radio ads, featuring Frank Zappa, Ken Nordine, Linda Ronstadt, and Randy Newman in this featured episode.

Parisian Treescraper: Vertical Mixed-Use Planter Will Also Have Room for People [ARTICLE]

Designed by Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti, the ‘White Forest’ boasts a facade covered in 2,000 plants.

Shared Space: Road Signs Suck. What if We Got Rid of Them All? [ARTICLE]

It seems counterintuitive, but there’s evidence that getting rid of signals, signs and barriers might actually make streets a lot safer.