Why cities are the best cure for our planet's growing pains
Singapore The vertiginous "infinity pool" at the Marina Bay Sands resort offers a sweeping view of Singapore, a country that's achieved success while building up instead of out.
Success Symbol Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Skyscrapers exclaim urban innovation, few more boldly than the Petronas Towers in Malaysia's capital.
Affluent City Seoul, South Korea Seoul's electrifying growth, from impoverished war-torn capital in the 1950s to economic powerhouse, has turned its cityscape into a dense grid of housing and office towers. Its transformation proves that rapid growth can bring rapid wealth.
A Place Called Home Seoul, South Korea These apartments in the 25-story Evergreen Tower are identical, but each family adds humanizing touches to its 150-square-foot living room—from trophies and wedding pictures to a cross and a cuckoo clock. More than half of metropolitan Seoul's 24 million residents live in high-rises, deeming them safer, more energy efficient, and a better investment than single-family dwellings.
Seoul, South Korea Older housing, meaning anything built before 1980, is slated to be demolished in Seoul's Geumho neighborhood, making room for more apartment towers.
Urban Renewal Seoul, South Korea Buried under an elevated highway for decades, the Cheonggyecheon stream once again flows in the open air through downtown Seoul. A 3.6-mile-long stretch of the stream was restored in 2005.
Urban Renewal Seoul, South Korea In concrete-bound Seoul the sight and sound of rushing water creates a romantic niche in the Cheonggyecheon recreation area.
Urban Renewal Seoul, South Korea Even a designated smoking area in Seoul boasts greenery and artwork, as officials strive to make the high-rise city more livable.
Green Zone London, England A world away from the nearby towers of central London, grassy Greenwich Park offers a refuge for city dwellers. One secret to designing cities that are good for the environment lies in luring nature lovers to urban green spaces instead of the suburbs.
Civic Space Rome, Italy Great cities require a center where citizens openly meet, mingle, do business, and exchange ideas. The Forum, the heart of ancient Rome, set the standard for public spaces that followed. Where tourists now walk among ruins was once a vital arena of law courts, temples, monuments, and markets that thrived for more than a thousand years.
Rebirth New York, New York The liveliest show in town, Times Square buzzes with reborn energy. A 30-year redevelopment project turned a seedy stretch of Broadway into today's neon-lit shopping and entertainment walkway. Some dislike the theme park commercialism of the redo, but almost all applaud that the streets are alive with a city's valued resource—people.
For his "Day Into Night" image, Wilkes shot for ten hours from a single point and digitally blended the stills to make a time-lapse scene within one frame.
Empire City New York, New York Worthy of its prime location on Fifth Avenue, the main branch of the New York Public Library has nurtured Manhattan's cultural and intellectual life since it first opened its doors in 1911.
Togetherness New York, New York Commuters kvetch about crowded trains, but New York's subway system helps account for a relatively low per capita energy use. For density and diversity—hallmarks of a vital city—look no further than rush hour on the line from Grand Central to Wall Street.
Gerritsen's "Wall Street Stop" images are assembled from photos taken in rapid succession with different focal points. He combines the results on a computer so most faces appear equally sharp.
Street Life Istanbul, Turkey By foot, rail, and automobile, people pass through Taksim Square, animating the modern hub of Istanbul. Schemes to restrict the area to foot traffic worry planners who fear the famous crossroads could lose its creative energy.