À la bibliothèque

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ0A8kmMCns[/youtube] Expounding upon the virtues of public libraries is a bit like talking about how good it is to breathe clean air: it’s kind of obvious. But just as we insist on polluting our air until it is nearly toxic, libraries are often shamefully neglected. That was the case for most of Montreal’s history, but […]

Free the Street Vendors

Hot dog vendor at Spadina and Queen. Photo by Kevin Steele Toronto is finally getting the street food it deserves. After suffering under years of legislation that prohibited nearly everything but precooked sausages from being sold on the streets, vendors will now be able to serve food from hundreds of culinary traditions. There’s just one […]

Posted in: Canada, Food, Politics, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf 3 Comments , ,

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

I never thought I would say this, but you know what? I miss grass. I miss being able to visit a park and do what I want in an expanse of unstructured space. Hong Kong doesn’t have many parks to begin with and those that do exist are invariably full of concrete, with greenery encased […]

Four Generations

Hong Kong has a wealth of street signs from different eras, but unlike Montreal, political and linguistic tensions are buried far beneath the surface. No matter what the age or style, Hong Kong street signs follow a formula: black text, white background, English above Chinese. There have been some minor variations through the years; in […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Four Generations , ,

Early Morning Walks

Walking by the tracks, Danforth and Woodbine, Toronto, 2005

Posted in: Canada by Karl Leung 2 Comments ,

The Multinational Ding-Ding

The ding-ding, Hong Kong’s 105-year-old tramway is now a multinational asset. Yesterday, local conglomerate Whalf Holdings sold 50 percent of its shares in Hongkong Tramways to the French transportation company Veolia, which retains the option to buy the remaining half. “Operating the light rail system in Hong Kong will give us the knowledge and expertise […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Multinational Ding-Ding , , ,

Big Day in Little Sydney

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/3548220[/vimeo] Videographer Keith Loutit is spending a year filming Sydney in tilt-shift time-lapses, such as this one of the city’s Mardi Gras celebration, above. What does Loutit’s reduction of urban life to miniature tell us about the city he’s working in? And what does tilt-shift photography say about humanity and its built environments? Is it […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Public Space, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Big Day in Little Sydney , , , , ,

Rue Provost

Provost Street, in the working-class borough of Lachine, is not one of Montreal’s much-vaunted main streets. It has no sidewalk cafés, no cool bars and no reason to linger. But it does have a vintage Poulet Frit à la Kentucky. I took these photos in the spring of 2007. I hope Provost and its fried-chicken […]

In Hong Kong, Mahjong Endures

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoPdUiyKXI4[/youtube] No matter where you stand in Hong Kong, there’s a game of mahjong being played nearby, in someone’s living room, in a mahjong parlour or in the back room of a shop. (Every weekend, without fail, the owners of a flower shop around the corner from me invite some friends over to play mahjong […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Society and Culture, Video by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on In Hong Kong, Mahjong Endures , ,

Recession City

Anti-capitalist street art, SoHo, New York It’s a Saturday evening and the Boston subway is packed. The train is stalled on the platform at Downtown Crossing station, and the car has been filling up for nearly thirty minutes. Tensions are rising. One new arrival finds me slumped in my seat, impatient: “Aw, look at this!” […]

Taipei’s Japanese Bungalows

At some point or another, most of Asia was occupied by the Japanese, usually with disastrous consequences. But Taiwan is a bit different. From 1895 to 1945, Taiwan was a full-fledged Japanese colony, a legacy that continues to manifest itself in many subtle aspects of Taiwanese culture. Not the least of this is the urban […]

Preserving the King’s Legacy

One of the last remains of Tsang Tsou Choi’s work, now protected by a special coating and latex screen During his lifetime, the King of Kowloon was seen by the Hong Kong government as little more than a nuisance. But that was before the Star Ferry incident raised public awareness about identity, culture and heritage […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture, Video by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Preserving the King’s Legacy , , , , ,

Beijing Bicycles

Evening rush hour near Xuanwu Gate metro station