Dated but still interesting...
Greenwashing works -- actions do not always match perceptions. Thanks marketing! On a related note, this week's Economist reports that people who wear brand-name clothes get more job offers, higher salaries, etc. "because humans are not that good at separating superficial signals of quality from the real thing." Scientists document another variety: women who post more photos of themselves on facebook need more attention.
Aging infrastructure and beauty contests -- how policy makers are responsible for our "infrastructure crisis."
A different landscaping paradigm -- the difficulty of getting neighbors (and bureaucrats) to accept a non-grass front yard as "beautiful."