Support “Where Is the City of the Future?”: A Journey Across the Pacific Rim Using a Brand New Model of Journalism

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?

colin cities

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.

Relat­ed con­tent:

The City in Cin­e­ma Mini-Doc­u­men­taries Reveal the Los Ange­les of Blade Run­ner, Her, Dri­ve, Repo Man, and More

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.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.