Could a Saharan Super-Skyscraper Be the Future of Urban Living?

How self-contained vertical cities can put our utopian ideals into action.

Artistic rendering on the Sand Tower

Earlier this year, the innovative French architectural design firms Nicholas Laisné Associés and OXO Architectes released conceptual plans for something called La Tour des Sables (The Sand Tower). The proposed project is a massive, self-contained, self-sustaining 1,400-foot tall city-tower to be constructed in the heart of Morocco’s slice of the Sahara desert. A mixture of 600 housing units, an equal amount of public green and recreational space, and even more office units (not to mention the hotel, restaurants, bars, and meteorological observatory on top of the tower), it could contain well over a thousand people. While the Sand Tower may be uniquely ambitious, the concept of a self-contained city-structure is a longtime utopian dream, and one that is becoming increasingly more relevant as the pressures of urbanization and environmental degradation become increasingly dire.

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Parks We're Crushing On

The coolest greenspaces—old and new—as spotted by an intrepid network of photographers around the globe

Whether it is a sweet little patch of weeds and wildflowers on the sidewalk or a vast urban park, we all have a special green place for which we hold a deep affection. Public green spaces are now—as much as they've ever been—the play stuff of some of our greatest thinkers, designers, and place-makers. And we're all so much better for it. We asked photographers from around the world to share photos of the parks which they have major crushes on and discovered these gems from Germany to British Columbia to the United Arab Emirates and more.

Tweet and instagram us #goodcitiesproject to share which park you're crushing on or tell us in the comments.

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Hangzhou's Massive Bike-Share System Dwarfs All Others

China has, in a few short years, built a 50,000-bike system for a city of nearly 7 million people.

Bike-sharing isn't just for affluent, progressive Western cities anymore. A couple weeks ago, Dani Simons from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy wrote about Mexico City's impressive pilot program, which is succeeding in the face of typical Third-World urban challenges. And now, as this video from Streetfilms and ITDP shows, a Chinese city is taking the bike-share concept and utterly dominating it.

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