Apart from from writing here on Open Culture, I write about cities. Having mentioned my city-related projects here from time to time (the podcast Notebook on Cities and Culture, the City in Cinema video essays), I’d like to submit for your approval my newest and most ambitious one yet: Where Is the City of the Future?, an in-depth search across the Pacific Rim for the best city to lead us into the urban century ahead — using a brand new model of journalism.
Not long after the turn of the 21st century, the world’s urban population surpassed its non-urban population for the first time ever. And the deeper humanity gets into the this century, the more urbanized our world becomes: developing cities develop, neglected cities revitalize themselves, and the long-standing great cities of the world continue to find (or struggle to find) new ways of accommodating all those who’ve never stopped coming to live in them. How can the ever-growing urban world prepare itself for things to come?
This series of reports, combining both text and photographs, and informed by both extensive on-the-ground exploration and in-depth conversations with those who know these fascinating urban places best, aims to find out by taking as close as possible a look at cities all across the Pacific Rim. These include 20th-century metropolises looking toward the future like Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver, compact city-states like Singapore and Hong Kong, fast-developing capitals like Jakarta and Bangkok, lower-profile but nevertheless inventive “sleeper” cities like Wellington and Santiago, and east Asian megacities like Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai.
I’ve launched “Where Is the City of the Future?” as one of the flagship projects on Byline, a new platform for crowdfunded journalism. For every $2000 raised there, I’ll go report on one Pacific Rim city, seeking out the important lessons it has to teach every other, from the urbanistic to the architectural to the cultural and beyond. This will begin with reports on Los Angeles and Seoul, and will continue on indefinitely to potential cities of the future in an order voted on the backers. (Theoretically, you could keep me at this for quite a long time!) If you like, you can get involved at the project’s Byline page. Thanks very much indeed — and I look forward to finding the city of the future together.
Colin Marshall writes elsewhere on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, and the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.