Water Pollution Control Plant

How Cities Are Using Wastewater to Test for COVID-19

Some scientists and city officials are moving ahead with a different way to track the virus’s spread: wastewater testing.

February 16, 2021 - Devin Partida

Septic Tank

Lack of Septic Systems Spell Disaster for Low-Income Alabama Residents

Low-income Alabama residents who can't afford the cost of a functional septic tank run the risk of heavy fines and even arrest in addition to extremely unsafe conditions.

December 3, 2020 - The New Yorker


How Peoria Is Putting Green Infrastructure to Work

Peoria's new stormwater farm takes the pressure off its outdated combined sewer system. It's part of a larger effort by the city to align green infrastructure with social equity goals.

December 12, 2019 - Next City

New York Street Parking

Thinking About Infrastructure and Housing, Part 2

Is inadequate infrastructure a reason to keep new housing out of cities?

December 3, 2019 - Michael Lewyn


Florida Plagued by Sewage Spills

The state’s aging sewage infrastructure is failing, but the cost to replace it would be monumental.

April 15, 2019 - GateHouse Media

Can New Leadership Deliver New Stormwater and Sewer Systems in New Orleans?

The new head of the Sewage & Water Board of New Orleans comes to the job from Milwaukee, and he already has big ideas about what the city must do to prevent flooding like it experienced last summer.

September 29, 2018 - The New Orleans Advocate

drinking water fountain

Kentucky Needs $15 Billion in Additional Water Infrastructure

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has sounded an alarm about the state of the state's water infrastructure.

August 10, 2018 - WFPL


Sanitation Without Sewers

In much of the world, people do not have access to toilets and sewers. To make these places safer, innovators look for cheap, easy-to-install solutions.

September 29, 2017 - Next City


Behind Some of History's Most Powerful Urban Innovations

A series of pieces from Sidewalk Labs examines the history and context of vital urban "innovations." So far, elevators, sewers, and traffic signals have been covered.

September 14, 2017 - Sidewalk Talk

Stormwater Infrastructure

Using Public Art to Make Sense of Wastewater Infrastructure

The city of San Jose and designers from the University of California, Davis have completed a community-led design process to raise awareness about the connections between the kitchen, sewers, and the environment.

May 12, 2017 - The Confluence

Permeable Pavement

Atlanta Installs Permeable Pavement in Flood-Prone Neighborhoods

These Atlanta neighborhoods stand to gain in the long term from the city's new permeable pavement system and water retention park. But the project has displaced some residents.

December 4, 2016 - Next City

Residents Raise a Stink Over Plans to Fix London's Sewers

London's wastewater problems go at least as far back as the 19th century, before a 1,100-mile system of tunnels was built to divert the city's waste downstream. A plan to fix that system with a tunnel financed by customer fees is raising a stink.

October 23, 2013 - The New York Times

Beneath Paris, Sights to Rival Those Found Above

Will Hunt explores Paris beneath the surface during a 14-mile trek underground with a group of urban explorers, and finds subterranean sights to rival those found on the famous streets above.

November 11, 2012 - Intelligent Life

A Worrying Future for Urban Water

Climate change is expected to create major shifts in the amount of water and rainfall in cities in the near future. A recent symposium in Philadelphia on urban water delved into this emerging problem.

April 8, 2011 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Linking Infrastructure and Environmental Concerns

In a part of Staten Island largely developed before formal sewer systems were in place, the effort to address both logistics and environmental issues offers lessons for other urban areas.

December 9, 2010 - Urban Omnibus

Inside an Urban Water System

Urban water systems are immense -- and little-understood. Places presents this video from the Center for Urban Pedagogy looking down below the streets to illuminate the mystery city water delivery.

May 22, 2010 - Places

Aging Sewers and Growing Cities Mean Troubled Waters

As cities grow, aging sewer systems are having trouble keeping up with increasing amounts of waste. Often, the result is sewer system overflows that end up directly in waterways.

November 24, 2009 - The New York Times

Expensive Sewer Drives County to Bankruptcy

In 1993, Jefferson County, Alabama issued $3 billion in bonds to pay for a sewer system that would serve 150,000 people. Today, their financial situation is so bad they've stopped paying creditors and are close to declaring bankruptcy.

August 13, 2009 - Governing Magazine

Sewer Robot Frees Up Streets

The Urban Mole is a proposed package delivery robot that uses existing sewer tunnels to deliver packages underground, taking delivery trucks off of the streets.

July 31, 2009 - Wired

Sprawl and Sewers

Sewage issues in Ottawa are bringing attention to the significant infrastructure problems associated with sprawl.

September 1, 2008 - The Ottawa Citizen

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Top Books

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The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.