Metropolis Now

Technology is transforming city life, for better and worse

Palm trees in front of building
Xuebing Du

Trees Are Time Machines

Arborists are planting trees today that must survive decades of global warming. The health, comfort, and happiness of city dwellers hang in the balance.

Mel Evans / AP

The Black Struggle for Technology Jobs

In Atlanta and other racially segregated cities, the education system is stacked against African Americans competing for STEM careers. If Amazon picks the city for its second headquarters, things could get even worse.

Houston residents wade through floodwaters and heavy rain.
Jonathan Bachman / Reuters

The Hurricane in My Backyard

An environmental philosopher reflects on his experience enduring Hurricane Harvey, and what it teaches cities and their citizens about living with global warming.

Sunset on a suburban residential block with mountains in the background
David McNew / Getty

A Defense of the Suburbs

An architect immerses himself in residential production housing to learn why people like it—and what it can teach Americans about the future of urban design.

A man wearing a cable-knit sweater wears virtual-reality goggles labeled "XXX."
Joe Klamar / Getty / MarinaGrigorivna / Shutterstock / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic

Porn’s Uncanny Valley

The San Fernando Valley was once the bedroom community of the adult industry. Now technology hopes to disrupt traditional pornography—and the city it calls home.

A pole supporting electric wires goes up in flames in a wildfire.
Mike Blake / Reuters

Power Lines Are Burning the West

Human technology is responsible for more loss from fire than any other cause. But reducing fire’s impact will require changes to how people live, not just to the infrastructure that lets them do so.

Sailboats and tugboats in New York Harbor in the early 20th century
Underwood and Underwood / Library of Congress / Emily Jan / The Atlantic

City Noise Might Be Making You Sick

For a century, urban commotion has been treated as a moral failing of individuals. Fixing it will require systemic changes to environmental noise.