The Guardian

What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?

The wetter the better. From sponge cities in China to ‘berms with benefits’ in New Jersey and floating container classrooms in the slums of Dhaka, we look at a range of projects that treat storm water as a resource rather than a hazard

They call it “pave, pipe, and pump”: the mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century.

Along with the explosion of the motorcar in the early 20th century came paved surfaces. Rainwater – instead of being sucked up by plants, evaporating, or filtering through the ground back to rivers and lakes – was suddenly forced to slide over pavements and roads into drains, pipes and sewers.

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Oberhausen in the spotlight: how the ‚German Detroit‘ signals electoral shift

This once-thriving industrial powerhouse is undergoing a political and cultural transformation as the country prepares for federal elections on 24 September

Days away from Germany’s federal

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Accessing cities with a disability: what have your experiences been?

Inaccessible venues and public spaces are a daily occurrence for most disabled people, whether at home or on holiday. We want to hear from Guardian readers with a disability about your experiences of accessing cities, good or bad

Last year Chester was named the most accessible city in Europe, selected from 43 cities in 21 countries for its achievements in creating a disability-friendly environment across many different sectors.


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The bodega cats of Instagram: fur flies over automated food cabinet startup

Bodegas’ resident felines are symbolic of the relaxed environment that people appreciate about their local corner store. Could their bricks-and-mortar homes be put out of business by the latest tech startup? Won’t somebody think of the cats?

Two former Google employees’ proposal to replace corner shops with automated cabinets promoted

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Want a more ‚authentic‘ tourist experience? There’s an app for that

For many people the best kind of holiday is one based on local knowledge, but how do you know where the locals go – especially when they may prefer not to tell you? By mining their publicly available Instagram data

No one wants to be a tourist – not even tourists. It has connotations of uncritical consumption, of high prices and low quality, of being mindlessly funnelled amid a mass of humanity towards the sorts of joints that real New Yorkers or Londoners or Parisians wouldn’t be caught dead in.

The success of any experience of an unfamiliar city is measured by how much it overlaps with a local’s, and that’s never been truer than now. As cheap flights flood Europe with visitors, measures against tourists’ obstructive, destructive impact

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Connections, community and cute-ass cats: in praise of real-life bodegas

As the inventors of Bodega learned yesterday, real corner shops actually matter to cities in a way supermarket chains and automated cabinets never can

Forget the Parthenon: how austerity is laying waste to Athens‘ modern heritage

A full 80% of 19th and early 20th-century buildings in the Greek capital have already been destroyed, and time is running out for what’s left

Not that long ago I received a questionnaire through my door. How had the 1930s Bauhaus building in which I live survived the rigours of time? Who had designed it? Who was its first owner? And, the form went on, what were my memories of it?

Circulated far and wide across Athens, the questionnaire and its findings are part of a vast inventory of 19th- and early 20th-century buildings that now stand at the heart of a burgeoning cultural heritage crisis in Greece. At least 10,600 buildings are on the database and it is growing by the day.

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Eat, pray, live: the Lagos megachurches building their very own cities

Redemption Camp has 5,000 houses, roads, rubbish collection, police, supermarkets, banks, a fun fair, a post office – even a 25 megawatt power plant. In Nigeria, the line between church and city is rapidly vanishing

“Ha-lleluuuu-jah,” booms the distinctive voice of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, also known as the general overseer.

The sound comes out through thousands of loudspeakers planted in every corner of

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Patterns of Barcelona: photographer captures symmetry of city facades – in pictures

Instagrammer Roc Isern shows another side to Barcelona’s architecture by capturing the beautiful geometric shapes and patterns of the city’s buildings

Barcelona is known for its iconic landmarks, but Roc Isern turns his camera to buildings others may tend to look past.

Isern is a technical architect and photographer based in the Catalan capital. Since 2014, he has been capturing the facades of Barcelona’s buildings for tens of thousands of followers on Instagram at

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Which city has the most protests?

From pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong to far-right and anti-Trump marches in the US, protests occur daily in public spaces worldwide – but can we measure which city has the most?

From the racially charged marches in Charlottesville to anti-nuclear demonstrations in Tokyo, tens of thousands of protests are mounted daily in the public spaces of the world’s cities. Streets are closed, meetings convened and in the worst cases, people are beaten, jailed or killed.

“There is a palpable sense that the number of demonstrations worldwide is increasing, but nobody really knows,” says prof Donatella della Porta of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Scuala Normala Superiore in Florence. “It is notable, however, that there seem to be more right-wing protests.”

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