The subject of the tallest building in the world has always been ripe with architectural controversy. From the last minute spire of the Chrysler Building to the “vanity height” used to game the system. There’s an organization, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), that comments and ranks buildings but the Skyscraper Museum has come out with its own list which include buildings that have topped out but may not yet be open. The CTBUH waits for a building to be officially open.


top-urban-deisgn-and-planning-projects-in-the-us-now-that-you-should-care-about-nyc-chicago-dc-minneapolis-las-vegas-untappedcities-nick-reale-7Image Source: Regional Plan Association’s Second Regional Plan

With public consciousness of cities at an all-time high, planning and design projects have been commanding the imaginations of urbanities in ways unforeseen. On the positive end, more governing bodies and planning agencies are placing higher value on public awareness, information dissemination, and “ground-up” development. There’s certainly a long way to go, even in cities like New York City, but below are 10 of some of the more innovative and impactful projects going on across the United States right now. Though some have captured the imagination and support of masses while others hang in limbo, all will affect the lives of many in their wake.


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Yesterday on our Instagram feed, we posted the above photo taken by @gweets this past weekend during Chicago’s five-decade-old tradition of dying their river green for the festivities surrounding St. Patrick’s Day. One of our readers, Sarah Marder, asked us this question: “I can’t help but wonder what that does to the river’s eco-system. Do you know anything about it?” Well, for today’s Untapped Mailbag, we’ve dug up the inside scoop about how they dye the river as well as exactly how “green” or eco-friendly the practice actually is. (more…)

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Chicago Bridge Tender Houses-Architecture_2West Washington Street, Bridge Tender House

Chicago is a city mighty proud of its architecture. The number of architecture boat tours available attest to that, along with the zest of the tour guides. After all, Chicago was home to the World’s Columbia Exposition in 1893 (aka the Chicago World’s Fair), some of the early great skyscrapers and until last month, the tallest building in the United States.

We recently took one of those said boat tours but were struck by one of the architectural gems not mentioned by the tour guide–the Chicago River’s bridge tender houses. To us, the attention paid to such functional buildings are truly what sets Chicago apart and conveys the architectural fervor the city is so proud of.  Here’s an overview of some of these beautiful houses, which range from wooden clapboard to Beaux Arts.


The High Line in New York City is one of the most well-known elevated parks, but around the world there are many similar urban reclamation projects underway. The success of the High Line inspired many other cities around the world to reuse and rethink space around old rail lines. Here are 10 plans from Europe, Canada, Australia, Asia, the United States and Mexico.