A City Beyond Its Borders

Halfway through director Heiward Mak’s new short film, SAR², Eric Tsang takes a tumble in front of a propaganda sign in Shenzhen’s Qianhai new development zone. “Supported by Hong Kong, Serving the Mainland, Facing the World,” reads the billboard, reflecting the area’s goal of attracting 100,000 Hong Kong permanent residents to live and work there. […]

Delving Brick Lane’s Layers

Early on a Friday morning, London’s Brick Lane bustles with Bangladeshis heading to prayers at the local mosque. The women wear brightly coloured saris and the men don long pastel robes, looking striking as they stride along this worn English street. A few hours later, they are gone and the feel of the street has […]

Catholic Shrines of Carroll Gardens

At Court Street and Fourth Place is the Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi Social Club’s Madonna Addolorata Jesus has risen again on Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Street. His hand outstretched toward passersby, Christ silently sermonizes from a lightbox that both protects him from the elements and casts a holy aura around his colorfully-painted, ceramic torso. He’s also a […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Demographics, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Catholic Shrines of Carroll Gardens , , , , ,

Collecting the Scraps of a Changing Shanghai

There was no reason to have entered what looked like a dumpster north of Wangjiamatou Lu (王家码头路) which was located in Shanghai’s Old Town, or known better to some as the former walled city of Nanshi (literally ‘southern town’ (南市)) — until a small head in pigtails poked out from behind the rusty doors and […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Interior Space, Society and Culture by Sue Anne Tay Comments Off on Collecting the Scraps of a Changing Shanghai , , , ,

Elected by Ethnoburbia

Election results in Toronto in 2008 (top) and 2011 (bottom) Red is Liberal, blue is Conservative, orange is NDP Canada held its 41st federal election on Monday and the results have unleashed a seismic shift in the country’s political landscape. After two consecutive minority governments, the Conservatives have now won a majority. The left-wing NDP, […]

Judaism with a Hong Kong Flavour

Rabbi Asher Oser opens the heavy doors to Ohel Leah and steps inside, pausing for a moment to consider its vaulted ceiling, intricate woodwork and marble floors. As the door closes behind him, the sound of traffic fades, replaced by the quietude of Hong Kong’s oldest synagogue. “It’s a building of such history and gravitas, […]

Haiphong Road’s Halal Meat Market

The wet market on Haiphong Road comes as a bit of a surprise, tucked as it is beneath a busy flyover that shudders with the weight of passing trucks. The crowds streaming along the road towards the shops on Canton Road pass it by without much thought. If a passerby were to wander in, though, […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Food, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Haiphong Road’s Halal Meat Market , , ,

Mexican Bohemia: Chicago’s Pilsen

From the Loop, the Pink Line El bursts west, floating among the rooftops of a low-rise industrial district. As the city’s wall of downtown skyscrapers drifts away and the train enters an expanse of limitless sky, it’s as if the Pink Line is darting toward far more distant destinations than its terminus in neighboring Cicero. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Demographics, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Mexican Bohemia: Chicago’s Pilsen , , ,

Hong Kong’s Little Thailand

Before there was Gold Mountain — the promised land of North America — Chinese immigrants flocked to Southeast Asia, where they settled in countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Eventually, they came to dominate the regional economy, earning themselves scorn from some of the local native populations. 90 years ago, Thailand’s King Rama VI called […]

French Expats, Here and There

French football fans celebrate in 2006 on the Plateau Mont-Royal Photo by Oliver Lavery It’s been a long time coming, but the French — in the words of a shop manager on Mount Royal Avenue — “are taking over the Plateau!” French immigrants have been coming to Quebec for decades, but the past few years […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Canada, Demographics, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on French Expats, Here and There , , , ,

The Shenzhen Flâneur

It’s easy to spot Mary Ann O’Donnell in a Shenzhen crowd. She’s the one wearing a pink-and-orange linen scarf and flowing dress. She’s also white — a rather rare sight in a wealthy city that is still off the radar of the roving crowd of expatriates that have settled in Shanghai and Beijing. Don’t let […]

Inside the World’s Largest Human Migration

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KjO50bxN54[/youtube] Last Saturday, I stumbled into Cinema du Parc after fighting a losing battle with some serious wind-chill. I found myself watching Lixin Fan’s documentary, Last Train Home, a jarring film that expertly chronicles the world’s largest human migration. Every year, 130 million Chinese migrant workers attempt to make it back to their homes in […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Film, Society and Culture, Transportation, Video by Jiajia Yi Comments Off on Inside the World’s Largest Human Migration , , , ,

A Hasidic Exodus from Park Avenue?

The Montreal Gazette reported this weekend that the Hasidic community in Outremont and Mile End is suffering from a housing shortage. In 2002, there were about 4,200 Hasidim in the neighbourhood; today there are more than 6,000. Rising property values mean that many new Hasidic families are finding themselves priced out of their own Montreal […]

Montreal in a Minute

When it first launched, Urbania magazine had a pretty useless Flash-based website that replicated selected content from its print magazine. I’m glad to see it has embraced the full potential of the web. 14 “channels” of video, images and text add a new, more dynamic aspect to the quarterly magazine. One of my favourite features […]