Take a Virtual Drive through London, Tokyo, Los Angeles & 45 Other World Cities

When asked once about his beliefs, This Amer­i­can Life cre­ator Ira Glass replied that he believes “the car is the best place to lis­ten to the radio.” That seems to be a cul­tur­al­ly sup­port­ed per­cep­tion, or at least it has been in over the past half-cen­tu­ry in Amer­i­ca. But does it hold true in oth­er coun­tries? Does lis­ten­ing to the radio in the car feel as good in Lon­don, Buenos Aires, Mum­bai, and Tokyo as it does in Chica­go, New York, Mia­mi, and Los Ange­les?

You can see and hear for your­self with the wealth of vir­tu­al urban-dri­ving-and-radio-lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ences on offer at Dri­ve & Lis­ten, where you can take your pick from any of the afore­men­tioned cities and 40 oth­ers besides. The site makes this pos­si­ble by bring­ing togeth­er two forms of media that have come into their own on the inter­net of the 21st cen­tu­ry: stream­ing radio and stream­ing video.

In most every major met­ro­pol­i­tan area, radio sta­tions now make their broad­casts avail­able online. At the same time, Youtu­bers have by now shot and uploaded a great many through-the wind­shield views of all those places, cre­at­ing the once-unlike­ly enter­tain­ment genre of the dri­ving video.

Here we’ve includ­ed some prime exam­ples from pop­u­lar Youtube dri­ver J Utah, whose scope includes Amer­i­can cities large and small as well as such world cap­i­tals as Tokyo, Paris, Sin­ga­pore, Hong Hong, and São Paulo. All in 4K video.

Click on one of the cities on Dri­ve & Lis­ten’s menu, and chances are you’ll see one of J Utah’s videos. It will come with a stream­ing-radio sound­track, sourced from one of the sta­tions in the city or coun­try on dis­play. Your vir­tu­al Havana dri­ve may be accom­pa­nied by announce­ments of the news of the day, your vir­tu­al Istan­bul dri­ve by Turk­ish rock, your vir­tu­al Chica­go dri­ve by an NPR affil­i­ate (per­haps even WBEZ, home of This Amer­i­can Life), your vir­tu­al Guadala­jara dri­ve by soc­cer scores, your vir­tu­al Mia­mi dri­ve by straight-ahead jazz, your vir­tu­al Berlin dri­ve by Pat­ti Smith.

Each time you select a city, you’ll get a dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tion of radio sta­tion and dri­ving footage. As every dri­ver knows, day dri­ving and night dri­ving — to say noth­ing of rush hour ver­sus the wee hours — feels com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent, and so the dri­vers of Youtube have shot at all pos­si­ble times. Some of their routes thread right between down­town sky­scrap­ers, while oth­ers stick to free­ways along the out­skirts. As a res­i­dent of Seoul, I can tell you that Dri­ve & Lis­ten accu­rate­ly con­veys the expe­ri­ence of rid­ing in a cab through that city — pro­vid­ed you first crank the video speed up to 2x.

Enter Dri­ve & Lis­ten here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Take a Dri­ve Through 1940s, 50s & 60s Los Ange­les with Vin­tage Through-the-Car-Win­dow Films

Time Trav­el Back to Tokyo After World War II, and See the City in Remark­ably High-Qual­i­ty 1940s Video

Lon­don Mashed Up: Footage of the City from 1924 Lay­ered Onto Footage from 2013

A Trip Through New York City in 1911: Vin­tage Video of NYC Gets Col­orized & Revived with Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence

Pris­tine Footage Lets You Revis­it Life in Paris in the 1890s: Watch Footage Shot by the Lumière Broth­ers

Read­ing While Dri­ving, Seri­ous­ly?

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.


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