When we look at urban development and towering skyscrapers, we usually enjoy how majestic they make the skyline look. But every structure casts a shadow. The subreddit ‘Urban Hell‘ is where modern concrete jungles are called out for all the chaos and disarray they entail.
Created in 2013, this online community now has 1.2 million members, who regularly share pictures of buildings and cities that suggest we’re already living in a dystopia.
Whether it’s the dirty slums against the shiny downtown in the background, abandoned stadiums, or packed streets under neon lights, is this the best we humans can do?
01. Light Pollution From Train Line Over Old Houses In China
02. Hong Kong, Enough Said
According to Yan Liu, a professor of geographical information science at the University of Queensland, and Rachel Gallagher, a Ph.D. candidate at the same institution, zoning has been the critical tool used by urban planners to influence how our cities grow and change for almost a century.
“Contemporary zoning truly developed after the Second World War,” the researchers wrote. “A combination of large real estate interests and the emerging field of urban planning created low-density, car-centric suburbs.”
Urban plans called for standardized subdivisions, land uses, and engineering of streets and infrastructure.
03. Gurugram, India
04. Balcony Façade Of A Famous Hotel In Thailand
05. Naples, Italy
Detached houses in residential suburbs primarily characterized urban development, while large road networks separated these suburbs from commercial and industrial areas of the city.
However, in the late 1980s, many cities began introducing planning mechanisms to restrict outward expansion. Changes in zoning allowed for increased density and a mix of land uses—the aim was to encourage redevelopment of existing urban areas.
06. Satellite View Of New Delhi (A City Of Some 20 Million People)
07. Caribbean Coast Estate, Hong Kong
08. Istanbul Traffic
09. Egyptian Times Square, Cairo, Egypt
Yet, as cities become denser and the traditional suburban “house and garden” is redeveloped, buildings are replacing trees, and settlements become grayer.
Replacing an existing home with a larger house or several townhouses typically strips all existing vegetation from the site.
10. The Other Side Of Rio De Janeiro
11. Detroit, Michigan
12. Mumbai Water Pipes With Garbage And Slums, Those Pipes Supply Water To Localities With Apartment Rates Exceeding A Million Dollar For 3bhk In Bandra, Santacruz
Compact city land-use policies and urban forest policies need to work together to ensure that there can be both high-quality built environments and extensive tree cover.
Experts argue that cities urgently need more strategic identification of small and large lots suitable for more intensified development, mainly to reduce the need for the widespread low-level consolidation that threatens tree cover.
14. Once Upon A Time, These Houses Have A Sea View, Now They Have This View
15. Hong Kong Apartments
16. Merry Christmas Sign On A Blast Furnace In Brazil
17. Burlington Beach, Ontario
At the same time, land-use regulation should ensure that both low-yield and higher-density redevelopment maintain the contribution of private land to the urban forest. Existing and new approaches to achieving this outcome must be considered, whether done through local rules, government programs, or incentive schemes.
18. Metro Manila, Philippines
19. Small City In China
20. Mansion Under Bay Bridge In San Francisco, CA
21. Phnom Penh New Gated Community
Rapid urban consolidation can change urban landscapes significantly over the next few decades, and the right decisions need to be made to ensure we don’t end up with more “urban hell,” which can be further explored in our previous publications on the subreddit here and here.
23. Kindergarten In One Of The Settlements Near Vorkuta
24. View From My Hotel In Downtown Naples, Italy
25. Tokyo From Sky Tree
26. Early Powerline Setups – When Thousands Of Cables Filled The Sky
27. Tokyo, Japan
28. Sigh… Parking Lots
29. A Normal Day In Kowloon 20 Years Ago
30. State University Of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
31. Neon District In The Lahore Walled City
32. Imagine Using This Picture To Advertise Your City
33. Gary, Indiana
34. Slums In Jakarta, Indonesia
35. Real Estate Boom In Newtown, India
36. Mumbai, India In All It’s Glory
37. Can Anyone Confirm If This Is As Bad As It Seems?
38. Tarlabaşı, One Of The Poorest Neighborhoods In Istanbul
39. Man On Pedestrian Bridge Overlooking Traffic In Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo: Akintunde Akinleye)
40. Houses Combined With The Wall Next To A Freeway. So Depressing
41. LA, Office Tower
42. Dystopian Thessaloniki
43. What Happens When We Build For Cars Instead Of People
44. Government Housing. São Paulo
45. Dubai, UAE
46. Chişinau Urban Development
47. The End Of Post-War Dreams. Newcastle, UK
48. When You Want To Look Whimsical But Hate The Homeless
49. Urban Development Of Lagos, Nigeria
50. An Old Church Was Demolished To Make Way For A Real Estate Development Of Apartment Buildings In Shanxi, China
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