Public Square Street

In the six short blocks between Nathan Road and Ferry Street, Public Square Street ties together all of the seedy, entertaining and historic elements that makes Yau Ma Tei so intriguing. Temples of a different sort You wouldn’t know it today, thanks to the West Kowloon land reclamation, but Yau Ma Tei began life as […]

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Blue Dusk

View towards Kowloon from the Peak

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Migrant Worker Seeks Love

[youtube]SVABgEtL4HE[/youtube] I’ve always had a thing for Sexy Beijing, Danwei‘s offbeat, good-natured sendup of the HBO television series Sex and the City. Its host, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, explores some of Beijing’s social and culture issues through the guise of a funnier, more awkward and self-effacing Carrie Bradshaw. Its treatment is decidedly lightweight but, like a […]

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Stencil Art in Taipei

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Bring Your Own Bike Lane

I’ve never had much use for bike lanes. While I appreciate them in certain situations — like when they let you ride legally against the flow of traffic — they generally strike me as a half-measure that lull both drivers and cyclists into complacency. They give the illusion of safety when they are in some […]

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Crossing Williamsburg Bridge

The long, arching pathways that carry bicycles and pedestrians over the Williamsburg Bridge feel like New York’s version of the torii leading to Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari shrine: solemn, still, enclosed, and blaring with bold, repetitive red. While the Williamsburg Bridge is not populated by spirits, it speaks — whether in traces of graffiti or in […]

The Nervous System

I’ve always had a thing for overhead wires. People tend to complain about their unsightliness, especially in cities where they are abundant, like Toronto. But they add a gritty, functional dimension to the streetscape. If roads are the city’s veins, wires are the nerves, carrying the electrical currents, telephone signals and other bits of power […]

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South Wall Road

There’s no need to catch a flight to Bangkok for fresh lemongrass, mango sticky rice and fruit you’ve never seen before. South Wall Road, which runs for just two blocks between Prince Edward Road and Kowloon Walled City Park, is the pulsing heart of Hong Kong’s Thai community, packed with restaurants, grocery stores and beauty […]

Cambridge, Temporarily

Kendall Square now… Kendall Square as it could be? One of the beautiful things about an academic planning exercise is that you can indulge in a little flight of fancy. A recent exercise at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design let people imagine a temporary urban intervention in one of Cambridge’s famous squares. A “square”, in […]

On Commuter Trains, Ice and Lawsuits

Hell hath no fury like a commuter train rider scorned! Citing persistent hits to his work schedule and quality of life due to persistently late commuter trains, Yves Boyer (and his lawyer Normand Painchaud) have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Agence métropolitaine de transport. Boyer is asking for a judgment of $65 million. Hardly […]

Montreal by Bus: Is Your Route Legible?

Photo by Kurt Raschke To refresh you: in my last article, I talked about the names of bus lines, and how they can be used to help transit users navigate the city. I mentioned, among other things, that buses might be named for the paths that they follow or their end points, and that the […]

Scooter’s Eye View

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Cumberland Road

Just ten minutes from Mongkok, Cumberland Road feels as if you’ve left Hong Kong altogether. Running north from Boundary Street into the heart of Kowloon Tong, this low-slung street is lined mostly by squat pastel-coloured villas. With its mountain views and looming trees, this could be a particularly well-off part of Los Angeles – except […]

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Morning Coffee: Coffee on Demand

Coffee is a big part of the social life of Saigon, a city that somehow manages to be both languid and relentlessly energetic in nearly equal measure. Hundreds of cafés and coffee stands dot the city: relaxed neighbourhood hangouts with a few plastic seats out front to watch the city go by; leafy park cafés […]