Cities Project Cities Project NPR's Series On Urban Life In The 21st Century

Cable cars move commuters over a complex of shantytowns in Rio de Janeiro, one of many cities taking part in the smart city boom around the world. Felipe Dana/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Felipe Dana/AP

Miami Public Service Aide Tatayana Harris enters information into her laptop after clearing an accident in Miami's Little Havana community. Harris has been a Miami Police PSA for five years and hopes to become a police officer. Marsha Halper for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Marsha Halper for NPR

Micaela Torres and 2-year-old Jakai Johnson swing underneath a surveillance camera at Miwok Park in Elk Grove, Calif. The city's police department collects more than 100 video feeds from across the city. Steve Henn/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Steve Henn/NPR

Residents of the Estonian capital of Tallinn can use public transportation for free after purchasing a special card for 2 euros. Raigo Pajula/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Raigo Pajula/AFP/Getty Images

The Spanish city of Santander is using a network of sensors to help improve services and save money. Incidents reported to Santander's command-and-control center, where the city manages data from sensors and smartphone reports made by citizens, are plotted on a map of the city. Courtesy of the University of Cantabria hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the University of Cantabria

Rio's Operations Center brings together more than 30 agencies and allows them to coordinate on daily issues such as traffic, as well as on emergencies such as the frequent flash floods in hillside slums. Raphael Lima/Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro hide caption

itoggle caption Raphael Lima/Courtesy of the Operations Center, City of Rio De Janeiro

Information, like light, flows through cities in interesting, often beautiful, patterns. Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Bernard Goutier, 25, has served time in prison twice. He's now learning construction skills with Emerge Connecticut, which offers paid on-the-job training, literacy classes and support groups to ex-offenders. Uma Ramiah for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Uma Ramiah for NPR

Families in a predominantly Latino youth soccer league gather for matches in Aurora. Hispanics make up nearly a third of the city's population, according to the 2010 Census. Megan Verlee for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Megan Verlee for NPR

Senegalese vendor Cheikh Fall prepares his stall in front of Brooks Brothers on 51st Street, just off the Avenue of the Americas in New York City. Fall runs an association of Senegalese vendors that deals with the city over licensing and regulations. Art Silverman/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Art Silverman/NPR

Part of the wall that was built in 1940 has since been painted over with a mural. Detroit1701.org/Collection maintained at the Univ. of Michigan by Ren Farley and Judy Mullin hide caption

itoggle caption Detroit1701.org/Collection maintained at the Univ. of Michigan by Ren Farley and Judy Mullin

An illustration for a park proposed for Washington's old 11th Street Bridge. If realized, the park would span the Anacostia River, linking the Capitol Hill neighborhood with lower-income Anacostia. Ed Estes/Courtesy of D.C. Office of Planning hide caption

itoggle caption Ed Estes/Courtesy of D.C. Office of Planning

The skyline of the northern Brickell neighborhood in downtown Miami. Its residential population has more than doubled in the past decade. Marc Averette/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

itoggle caption Marc Averette/Wikimedia Commons

Some scientists predict that by 2050, climate change and an accompanying rise in sea level will lead to frequent flooding in Boston. jeffgun/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption jeffgun/Flickr