How Chicago Turns Sewage Into Power

Chicago’s wastewater authority plans to slash its energy bill by using bacteria to convert sewage into natural gas. In cutting their $50 million electricity bill to zero, the agency would be the largest in the country to go energy-neutral.

+Photo: A pump room carved out of rock deep underneath MWRD's Calumet plant.
+CityLab, November 2015

Why More Seniors Are Forming Their Own 'Villages'

Social isolation is dangerous. So-called "villages" help seniors create community—without burdening their adult children or relinquishing independence. Since the founding of Boston's Beacon Hill Village in 2002, this model of aging in place has spread to 40 U.S. states.

+Photo: Beacon Hill Village members at a Passover Seder last year. (Courtesy Beacon Hill Village)
+CityLab, September 2015

Chicago's Cold War remnants
We looked for fallout shelters in the Chicago area, and we did find some. But they’re hardly the apocalypse-proof, fully-stocked bunkers that were once ready to weather a bomb blast and weeks-worth of radioactive fallout. Still, these ghosts of Cold War-era infrastructure do exist across the city. In fact, buildings that served as fallout shelters are often in places you might not expect.
+Chicago Public Media, August 2015

The Story Behind Chicago’s Deadliest Day
On July 24, 1915, a Great Lakes tour boat called the Eastland rolled over while docked on the Chicago River near Clark Street, killing 844 people. It was the worst disaster in the city’s history. I interview the author of Ashes Under Water: The SS Eastland and the Shipwreck That Shook America, for the untold story of the disaster 100 years later. +Chicago Magazine, July 2015
+Photo by Anna Knott