CityLab Daily: How iconic home designs define global cities

CityLab Daily

A worthy diversion from the news: There are many ways to understand a city, from its layout to the cultures and traditions of its residents. You can also take a close look at the architectural design of the local housing.

Josh Kramer/Bloomberg

Josh Kramer/Bloomberg

In CityLab's latest series, Feargus O'Sullivan and other contributing writers take us on a tour exploring the layout of iconic homes of around the world. The stories behind facades and floor plans of homes often reveal the history of a city as a whole, and help explain why residents there live the way they do now. Hanoi's history of capitalism and communism is nestled in its traditional shophouses, for example, and Icelanders have been able to withstand frigid winters thanks in part to Reykjavik's sheet-metal homes. In Amsterdam, extremely steep staircases reflect the city's long history as a merchant port, and in Singapore, the clearest monuments to the government's paternalistic ethos are the spacious units in publicly built housing projects that are inhabited by all but the very wealthiest residents. Today on CityLab: The Iconic Home Designs That Define Our Global Cities.

-Linda Poon

More on CityLab

The Americans Who Could Be Stranded by Transit Cuts
A new analysis illustrates how more than 3 million people across 10 U.S. regions could lose access to high-quality public transportation, with Black residents severely affected.   
What a Second Bauhaus Movement Means for Europe
The European Union's Green Deal would set off a wave of building renovations — and a chance to find a new common architecture aesthetic.
Houston Had an All-American Pandemic Response: Ignore Until It's Too Late
The city knows about disasters. It's got a world-renowned medical center. It saw what happened in New York. And it still couldn't stop Covid-19.

What we're reading

  • Evidence shows huge mail slowdowns after Trump ally took over (Guardian)
  • When police violence is a dog bite (The Marshall Project)
  • Covid-19 is not the "death of the city" — it's the rise of the neighborhood center (Forbes)
  • The pandemic is an era of protests — and protest restrictions (Washington Post)
  • Unsheltered in place (Mother Jones)


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