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What to do about Detroit? A Q&A with urban planner, Toni Griffin

What to do about Detroit? A Q&A with urban planner, Toni Griffin

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Everyone knows Detroit is in trouble. The list of problems assaulting the once-mighty Motor City is long and, from a look at national newspapers, incessantly documented. Most recently, the city filed for bankruptcy; its former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for public corruption. Since the booming 1950s, the city of Detroit []

My City: Life as a blind architect in San Francisco

My City: Life as a blind architect in San Francisco

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On St. Patrick’s Day in 2008, Chris Downey, an architect, planner and consultant who lives in Piedmont, California, some 10 miles east of San Francisco, reported to the hospital for surgery to remove a brain tumor. The procedure was a success. But two days later, his sight started to fail. On the third day, it []

My City: Juliana Rotich on Ushahidi, BRCK and life in Nairobi

My City: Juliana Rotich on Ushahidi, BRCK and life in Nairobi

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Juliana Rotich was not expecting our interview to end in tears. Neither was I. But on reflection, we were both completely ok with it. After all, that’s what happens when terrorism becomes personal. For Rotich, that happened at the end of September, when al Shabaab terrorists attacked the Westgate Mall in the northwestern part of []

My City: An artist spray-paints Cairo’s uncertain future

My City: An artist spray-paints Cairo’s uncertain future

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Early one morning, hours before the sun would rise, Lebanese-Egyptian artist, activist and historian Bahia Shehab was alone on the streets of Cairo, spray-painting a stenciled message that spoke out against the stripping of veiled women. It’s a campaign she discussed in “A thousand times no,” her inspiring TED Talk, and it was not only []

My City: Why Shanghai is the ultimate hackerspace

My City: Why Shanghai is the ultimate hackerspace

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In 2005, at the start of my first visit to Shanghai, the city clothed itself in a growling thunderstorm. When dusk fell and neon began to score the sky, the city was more Blade Runner-y than I thought a real place possible to be. I remember diving into a luxe spa for a post-train massage, []

My City: Inaki Romero Larrea on building a better Madrid

My City: Inaki Romero Larrea on building a better Madrid

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by Rebecca Smith Hurd Spanish architecture generally conjures images of grandeur, particularly when it comes to modernist and contemporary construction. Gaudí’s basilica. Calatrava’s bridges, airports and centers for the arts. Bofill’s state and corporate headquarters. Moneo’s museums. The list of splendiferous urban structures goes on and on. But not everything built on the Iberian Peninsula []

My City: sound artist Jason Sweeney on life in Adelaide

My City: sound artist Jason Sweeney on life in Adelaide

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Jason Sweeney lives and works in Adelaide, Australia, a city he describes as “a prototype for what a developed city in the western world could be like.” Here, he describes his life in the city. Also, see and hear his favorite Adelaideian spots in the photoessay by Kristin Alford, accompanied by audio snippets of the []

My City: Trash anthropologist Robin Nagle talks New York City garbage

My City: Trash anthropologist Robin Nagle talks New York City garbage

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In the first of a series of city-related articles, we profile Robin Nagle, anthropologist-in-residence at the Department of Sanitation and long-time resident of New York City. She describes a life dedicated to, well, trash, and documents some of her favorite locations throughout the American city’s boroughs, captured in an accompanying photoessay by Ryan Lash. In []