One Week Remains to Fund "Where Is the City of the Future?" — But Why Look for the City of the Future at All?
With one week left in the funding drive for “Where Is the City of the Future?”, my experiment in crowdfunded interactive urbanist-travel-cultural journalism here on Byline, allow me to address a seemingly simple question: why search for the city of the future in the first place?
As I’ve previously explained, for each $2000 raised by this funding campaign, “Where Is the City of the Future?” will produce an in-depth report one world city along the Pacific Rim, beginning with Los Angeles and Seoul and moving on to cities chosen by you, the supporters, from a selection ranging from Tokyo to Sydney, Vancouver to Jakarta, Hong Kong to Honolulu. (Those who support the project at the highest level can also name a Pacific Rim city, even one not already on the list, for inclusion.)
We’ve raised just over $500 so far — about a quarter of the budget for the first city in the series — but still have a whole week in which to put together the kind of amount that will make it interesting. That would require a comparison of at least three or four Pacific Rim cities, meaning a total budget of at least $6000 or $8000 — but of course, the bigger the budget, and thus the more cities the project can cover, the better.
Each city report from “Where Is the City of the Future?” will take a long form, running over the course of weeks and making use of not just writing and photography but other audiovisual media as well — videos offering a glimpse into the on-the-street experience in these cities, audio interviews with those who know them best, and a host of other possibilities besides — in order to get as deep as possible into as many aspects of these cities as possible: their architecture, their geography, their food, their urban design, their technology, their languages, their transit… the list goes on.
That very quality, above all others, strikes me as the reason to search for the city of the future: cities aren’t just subjects, but nexuses of all subjects. Whatever fires up your curiosity, you can explore, discuss, and learn about in the context of cities. And now that most of the world’s population has come to live in cities, they’ve become perhaps the most important context you can explore, discuss, and learn about most of these subjects in.
But you no doubt have particular things you’d like to know about each city, specific neighborhoods (whether real or metaphorical) you’d like to see explored. As a supporter of “Where Is the City of Future?” you can make your preferences heard: maybe in the ongoing conversation of the project’s Supporters’ Cafe here on Byline, maybe in a Skype or Google Hangout session with me directly, or maybe even face-to-face over the choicest food and drink in the Pacific Rim city of your choice.
Other benefits of supporting “Where Is the City of the Future?” include postcards I’ll send you from each of the Pacific Rim cities the project will cover; membership on the “Where Is the City of the Future?” mailing list, with regular updates on my urban travels for the series as well as a roundup of interesting news stories pertaining to the cities in the series; and a complete print collection of the “Where Is the City of the Future?” reports after the series has concluded.
But first, over the next seven days, we’ve got to get this thing funded! Thanks very much indeed for your time, attention, and, if I’ve done anything at all here to convince you of the project’s interestingness, support. I’ll see you on the Pacific Rim.