Winter 2015

Table of Contents

The Cities Issue

From the Editors

Urban Comeback: How Cities Are Leading Us Into the Future

At a time when nations are gridlocked and corrupted by special interests, cities are taking on poverty, social isolation, and the climate crisis.

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Amanda Winter biking by Martha Williams

Want to See How Governments Are Making Real Progress? Look to the Cities Tackling Our Biggest Problems

New energy is transforming our cities into hotbeds of democracy and progressive innovation.
Sarah van Gelder
New York Navy Yard by Valery Rizzo

10 Climate Conscious Cities—Electric Cars, Rooftop Farms, and Other Ways They’re Preparing for the Future

There’s no time to waste when it comes to acting on climate change. The world’s most forward-thinking cities are curbing carbon and building for a sustainable future, now.
Natasha Donovan
Rain in Los Angeles. Photo by Nathan Gibbs / Flickr.

LA Imports Nearly 85 Percent of Its Water—Can It Change That by Gathering Rain?

The urban drainage-ways of Los Angeles can never quite look like wild creeks, but restoring some of their capacity to store, slow, and filter water fixes many problems at once.
Madeline Ostrander
Detroit Water

When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help

Grassroots action has backed down the city’s aggressive water shutoffs.
Larry Gabriel

How One Boston Neighborhood Stopped Gentrification in Its Tracks

Community land trusts create housing that is permanently affordable. And they also help new city farmers get land.
Penn Loh
Medellin Posters photo from Pazamanos foundation

How Gondolas and Hip Hop Transformed the Most Dangerous City in the World

Medellín went from being ground zero of Colombia's drug war to UN poster child for urban equality—and the people made it happen, by designing the city they wanted.
Sven Eberlein
Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Photo by Piyavachara Nacchanandana.

Can You Imagine a City Where Trees and Swing Sets Matter More Than Cars?

As we reimagine our future cities, we can make room for nature and humanity.
Jason F. McLennan

In 10 Years, No One In Helsinki Will Even Want to Own a Car: 3 Simple Ideas That Are Making Cities Sustainable

An app that combines the affordability of ride sharing with the reliability of taxis. Playgrounds built as sponges for reusable greywater. From Finland to California, the cities of the future are here.
Shannan Lenke Stoll
Teen voters by Shutterstock.

How to Hack City Money: Let 16 Year Olds Vote on Budgets, Get Banks to Invest Locally

In California and Ohio, two city governments are entrusting their citizens with budgeting and rewarding banks for valuing local communities.
Shannan Lenke Stoll
Homeless Couple photo by Jeremy Brooks

Three Ideas for Inclusive Cities: How Raleigh, Seattle, and Others Are Bringing Everyone Into the Fold

From city-issued ID cards to open-source data anyone can access, simple urban innovations are creating more transparent and equitable cities.
Shannan Lenke Stoll

Solutions We Love

Explore Section
Naomi Klein photo by Aaron Stern

“They’re driven by love. And they’re fierce.” Naomi Klein on the Climate Heroes Who Inspire Her

From Native activists to urban youth, new leadership finds ways to deal with climate chaos.
Sarah van Gelder

How to Feast Sustainably During the Holidays

Stories in classic literature remind us that for most of our history, end-of-season feasts celebrated local harvests. Can we find our way back?
Nina Bunker Ruiz
Man with Dog photo from Shutterstock

Alaska Bolstered Its Economy and Curbed Inequality—By Paying Everyone Thousands in Oil Dividends Every Year

After 30 years, the practice of paying every resident—including children—at least $1,000 has made Alaska one of the least unequal states in America. Here's what the rest of us can learn.
Peter Barnes

Meet the Lobstermen Arrested for Blocking a Coal Freighter—and the DA Who Kept Them Out of Jail

Last spring, these men were in a small white lobster boat anchored to block the path of an oncoming freighter hauling 40,000 tons of coal. They didn't expect the district attorney to support them.
Natasha Donovan
Key in lock with "Home Sweet Home" keychain. Photo by Shutterstock.
The Page That Counts

Permanent Housing for 85 Homeless People Saved Taxpayers $1.8 Million (And 18 Other Facts to Think About)

Did you know an elephant can bring in more than $1.6 million during its lifetime—from ecotourism?
Natasha Donovan

Culture Shift

Explore Section

Sit Still and Listen: What White Men Can Do in Times Like These

Even the most decent and principled white men have to exercise muscles of consciousness they might not have used before.
Kevin Kahakula’akea John Fong
"The Big Tiny" review. Photo by Betty Udesen.

Book Review: After Landing Herself in ICU, This Woman Changed Her Lifestyle, and Built a Tiny House

In building her tiny house, the author built a simpler and happier life.
Abby Quillen
Hopscotch. By D. Sharon Pruitt / Flickr.

A Baltimore Public School Teacher Explains Why It Pays to Put Kids in Control

What do Shakespeare’s plays tell us about how to run classrooms in an unequal society?
Andy Lee Roth
Oyster mushrooms in a pan. Photo by Chiot's Run / Flickr.

How to Grow Oyster Mushrooms at Home (and Get Plenty of Flavor and Protein for Free)

You don't need a garden to grow mushrooms—any cool, shady space will do, even a cupboard or dark corner.

These Gorgeous Photographs Show Indigenous Americans Without the Stereotypes

Three years ago, Matika Wilbur set out on an ambitious undertaking: a vast road trip across America to photograph members of all 562 of America’s federally-recognized tribes.
Natasha Donovan
Half-mile dinner by Andy King

Photo Essay: At a Half-Mile-Long Table, Chefs, Farmers, and Volunteers Feed a Neighborhood for Free

In St. Paul, Minnesota, artist Seitu Jones wanted to start a community-wide conversation about food access and food justice—and where better to talk than over a good meal?
Valerie Schloredt
Woman selling vegetables by Shutterstock

The New Economy Comes of Age: 7 Steps Toward Shared Prosperity

Democratic ownership, localized food production, and a shift to renewables are key principles in this growing movement to re-envision our economy.
Fran Korten