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Announcing My New Project, “Where Is the City of the Future?” on Byline

Presenting “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 — and 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 aims to discover just that by taking as close as possible a look at cities all across the Pacific Rim, from 20th-century metropolises looking toward the future like Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver to compact city-states like Singapore and Hong Kong to fast-developing capitals like Jakarta and Bangkok to lower-profile but nevertheless inventive “sleeper” cities like Wellington and Santiago to east Asian megacities like Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai.

City of the Future Byline image

Each of these cities, and many others along the Pacific Rim, have important lessons to teach every other. In order to learn them, each report will delve into as many cultural, architectural, and urbanistic aspects of the city at hand as possible, 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. The result will draw from the Pacific Rim’s cities a host of ideas, daringly innovative or resiliently time-tested, that the rest of the urban world can put into practice.

I’ve just 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 a Pacific Rim city. The series 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 by you, the backers. Other rewards include access to the ongoing conversation about the direction of our urban world in the supporters’ cafe, a print collection of all the reports at the end of the series’ run, postcards personally sent from each city on which I report, and even the addition of your Pacific Rim city of choice to the series.

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.