Miss Villeray

Miss Villeray by day… Whenever I wander up to Villeray, usually after a trip to the Jean-Talon Market, I make sure to take Henri-Julien so that I can pass by Miss Villeray. That’s because this neighbourhood bar is adorned by a particularly comely neon sign. It wouldn’t have turned any heads in the 1960s, when […]

Beyond the Second Ring Road

Beijing is at least two cities. There’s the Beijing of the hutongs, a largely low-slung, grayscaled cityscape lying along the occasionally meandering little streets one can find within the old city walls, a one to two kilometer radius of Tiananmen Square. Then there’s the rest of Beijing, a march of high and midrise office and […]

Mapping Segregation

Four decades have passed since the end of formal racial segregation in the United States, but as anyone can tell you, informal segregation remains a part of everyday life in many areas of the country. That becomes especially clear when you look at Eric Fischer‘s new maps of race and ethnicity in major American cities. […]

Macau Art Space: Lun Hing Knitting Factory

Just a brisk walk from the Ox Warehouse is another one of Macau’s contemporary art spaces: the Lun Hing Knitting Factory. When I arrived, a group of old people sat in the lobby playing mahjong as the security guard watched idly. There’s little to indicate the presence of artists, when I took the lift up […]

An Afternoon in Taipa

Macau is selling its soul to the gods of gambling but there are still places to admire the city as it once was. One of those places, surprisingly enough, is the old village of Taipa, just a poker chip’s throw away from the grotesqueries of Cotai, the reclaimed land now home to casinos like the […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on An Afternoon in Taipa , , ,

The Gap-Toothed Street

Step one: fire When I first moved to Montreal in 2002, the city was littered with vacant lots, many of them in very prominent locations. The lots, which were filled with weeds and surrounded by heavy concrete blocks, had become as much a symbol of the city as potholes and outdoor staircases. Since then, many […]

Those Grey Metal Fences

Sidewalk fences at a typical corner in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon Earlier this month, a pair of pedestrians tried to push their way through a crowd of people on Dundas Street, one of the most crowded streets in Hong Kong’s most crowded neighbourhood. One of them cast a withering glance on the grey metal fence […]

The Street That Became a Gulf

As I stood in the middle of Anguo Lu, engulfed by bustling crowds, I looked east at the compound where the Shangahinese locals lived, then west-ward where many waidren lived.

There I was, in the cacophonous street that had turned into a gulf, a reminder of the persisting divide that plagues the city.

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Society and Culture by Sue Anne Tay Comments Off on The Street That Became a Gulf , ,

Backstreets of Ginza

In Ginza, it seems almost as if Japan tucks its true self out of view. Sure, the row of colorful, vertical signs advertising the largely upscale shops and services along the district’s main drags echo similar scenes all over the country, but the façades (and often stores) they’re attached to are too cold and modern […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, History by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Backstreets of Ginza , , , ,

Vancouver’s Most Brilliant Public Space

Vancouver’s cityscape is defined not as much by gorgeous architecture or dynamic streetlife as by the natural beauty that surrounds it. You can’t escape the green mountains visible from every angle, the deep blue water that twinkles at the end of hilly streets, the Douglas Firs standing tall in front yards. Even the glass apartment […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Vancouver’s Most Brilliant Public Space , ,

Rush Hour in London, 1970 and Today

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPIaG644jsI[/youtube] Bulbous black taxis and double-decker buses might supply London’s most recognizable transport iconography, but Britain, where the railroad was born, has long been a nation defined by trains. A look at two videos of London’s rail station at rush hour confirms the country’s undying regard for rail. The crowds pulsating through Waterloo Station in […]

House Plants

Built with recycled sheet metal, its tin roof held down by bricks, this shack in Hong Kong’s Tai Wai Village is covered by potted plants — an improvised take on the sophisticated green walls pioneered by people like Patrick Blanc.

Le Corbusier Died and Nobody Noticed

On August 27th, the forty-fifth anniversary of the death of Swiss architect Le Corbusier slipped by with nobody noticing. His legacy, however, lives on in cities around the world. His idea was to make things better for people. Getting rid of substandard, unhealthy housing, and separating industry from residential areas was supposed to reform both […]

Tokyo Façade Frivolity

The curve of a closed eyelid, the outline of a nose, an unmistakable set of lips: enough to discern the outline of a singer, covering, along with the notes floating up from her mouth, almost all of a multistory building in Akasaka. Halfway across Tokyo, a family of turtles somehow scales the vertical wall of […]