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The Atlantic Cities
September 15, 2011 10:31 AM   Subscribe

The Atlantic Cities is a new site launched today by the Atlantic. It's about cities.
posted by parudox (23 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the About article:
What can you expect from The Atlantic Cities? With this new site, we aim to do four things. First, we want to offer reported features that tell great stories about where cities are today, where they’ve been, and where they’re heading. Second, we want to deliver short, authoritative takes on the latest news and events happening in cities across the globe. Third, we want to gather the smartest thinkers and researchers in urbanism, anchored by the innovative work of Atlantic senior editor and Atlantic Cities godfather Richard Florida, to facilitate a bigger-picture, ideas-based conversation with our readers. And fourth, we want to use a variety of media, from charts and maps to photos, video and text, to tell these stories.
As a citizen of a smaller city, I'm curious whether the site will be geared towards the usual large metro areas or make an effort to look at the smaller places.

Either way, the idea of focusing on cities is intriguing. Here's hoping they capture the souls of the various places they cover and offer something different than what's been said before.

Was initially confused by the post, thought it was website about cities on the Atlantic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on September 15, 2011


The Standees are not going to take this lying down.
posted by Eideteker at 10:48 AM on September 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


On non-preview, what Brandon said.
posted by Eideteker at 10:49 AM on September 15, 2011


So basically 2007's "OMG WE MUST GO LOCAL!!!11+" rejiggered with media and "thinkers"?
posted by slater at 10:49 AM on September 15, 2011


I think Ryan Avent needs to talk with Richard Florida. Avent praises Texas for their low housing costs (paid for by an apparent disregard for sense of community), while Florida notes that boom-towns of Las Vegas and Phoenix "have faced high rates of housing foreclosure and of unemployment." Also, low-cost is only one fact when looking at housing. My sister-in-law lives in part of Houston, and she hates it for the sprawl that keeps housing prices low. No local stores or features to make it feel like anything different from any of the new boom towns in the US, and it's a 30 minute drive to the closest public library, any farmers market, and other features that exist in older parts of the Houston megacity fringe.

From these to articles alone, it looks like it'll be an interesting site.

But would it kill them to link to the Flickr users whose images they use, if not to the images themselves? I understand the images may disappear, but give the person more credit than their username
posted by filthy light thief at 10:50 AM on September 15, 2011


Ah, the Barstool Sports model.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:52 AM on September 15, 2011


So basically 2007's "OMG WE MUST GO LOCAL!!!11+" rejiggered with media and "thinkers"?

Er, no, not really.

It's not about This Particular Urban Center or That Metro Area - though plenty of articles do/will focus on a particular place - it's about Cities, as a category, as a group. Not "Here's some info about Philadelphia's new zoning code" but "Here's some issues with zoning faced by large metro areas."
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:56 AM on September 15, 2011


This is actually really cool. It is very easy to forget how diverse the United States is geographically and culturally and I think this will be a nice way to delve into the challenges/benefits felt by different people around the country.
posted by Wyatt at 10:58 AM on September 15, 2011


Cities you say?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:59 AM on September 15, 2011


Looks interesting but a little thin so far. I'm hoping that it will tend more toward in-depth articles and less toward infographics and slide shows.
posted by octothorpe at 11:05 AM on September 15, 2011


This is actually really cool. It is very easy to forget how diverse the United States is geographically and culturally and I think this will be a nice way to delve into the challenges/benefits felt by different people around the country.

True and I hope they soon do a story on how and why the shift to cities has occurred, what it means and more importantly, what's the difference between a city and non-city? Or what makes a city A CITY, you know? Woodlands, Tennessee, USA is a city, but has 296 people in it. Hempstead, New York has three quarters of a million people, but calls itself a town. Are these minor differences or not?

Richard Flordia, the "godfather" of the new website has visited my relatively small town of Savannah Georgia several times to give lectures, so we're "on the map" in a manner of speaking, but obviously different from places like New York and Denver, Colorado.

Every city has a certain feel, a soul to it if you will. I hope they focus on those unique characteristics while also looking at similar issues relevant to cities.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on September 15, 2011


Well, you know, it skips Providence. And it has Minneapolis, but not St. Paul -- which is like listing Yin but not Yang.

Not much theory here, but some neat maps and excerpts from Best Of lists. Oh, Atlantic, I love you, but what is this thing?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:32 AM on September 15, 2011


I do like that they're thinking about you define the borders of a city. It drives me crazy when I see reporting about cities or one of those stupid city ranking things that don't bother to define what they mean when they say a particular city. My city has only 300k population inside its borders but it's MSA has 2.3 million people. But most of the time when you see reporting about or rankings of, they don't say which definition of the city they mean.
posted by octothorpe at 11:33 AM on September 15, 2011


Or what makes a city A CITY, you know?

A city charter and articles of incorporation?
posted by LionIndex at 11:35 AM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I told Sommer about this thread; I don't think she's a metafilter user but you never know.

I'm with you on the linking, Flithy. Seems kinda crass not to at least provide the link to the profile page SOMEWHERE. Yeah, you can build it yourself the hard way but that's asking a lot.
posted by phearlez at 11:54 AM on September 15, 2011


A city charter and articles of incorporation?

Legally, sure. But that really isn't the whole picture. There are lots<> of metro areas that are much more than a single city, and yet have a cohesive identity; one of my favorite examples is Las Vegas, because the most iconic part of it - the Strip - is actually not in the city at all, legally speaking, for tax-dodging reasons. Legally, formally, the Strip is basically all in Paradise, NV, which just happens to be next door to Las Vegas, NV. But culturally, economically, etc, it's obviously a major part of the city.

Or look at Santa Monica, which is legally a wholly different city than Las Vegas, but is surrounded by that city on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the fourth.

Outside the US, this kind of thing is less... silly, and the informal definition of "City" is less constrained by formal charters. Nobody tries to pretend that London is only the Square Mile, or that Sydney is just the CBD. But while "Sydney" is widely recognized to have more than 4.5 million inhabitants, we insist on pretending that Las Vegas is less than 600,000 people because North Las Vegas and Paradise happen to be legally distinct, despite all being part of "Las Vegas" in a day-to-day normal-people's-lives sense, and the whole metro region - which has no other major cities - has nearly 2 million inhabitants.

posted by Tomorrowful at 12:05 PM on September 15, 2011


Or look at Santa Monica, which is legally a wholly different city than [Los Angeles], but is surrounded by that city on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the fourth.

Playing the game "Is _________ its own city or just a neighborhood of LA?" is actually somewhat interesting.
posted by LionIndex at 12:19 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's an interesting conference about this issue happening in my small city this fall. I think it is easier for smaller cities to recreate themselves in response to fundamental changes (economy, infrastructure, revitalization, etc.) than larger cities. That is, once they commit to doing so.
posted by headnsouth at 12:37 PM on September 15, 2011


The 25 Most Economically Influential Cities

On the list: Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Dublin, Stockholm, Melbourne.

A few cities not on the list: Mumbai, Los Angles, Berlin, Moscow, New Dehli, San Francisco, New Dehli, Dubai, Brussels

The list was compiled by the Martin Prosperity Institute which is located in Toronto, Canada.
posted by humanfont at 3:39 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Playing the game "Is _________ its own city or just a neighborhood of LA?" is actually somewhat interesting.

How this plays out is heavily influenced by local law and even time of establishment. Many neighborhoods of Chicago, for instance, were once independent villages in Cook County; and the word "suburb" typically referred, in the 19th century, to such a 'village' within the city limits. Later, such communities had stronger incentives and more effective political tools to resist annexation, and so the pattern became a patchwork of landlocked urbanizations.
posted by dhartung at 10:02 PM on September 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah - it's the same thing with LA: the city just grew and swallowed up a bunch of other surrounding towns while doing so, and some places chose to be annexed. It's just weird because there's really no rhyme or reason to it, so even people from the area might have difficulty knowing which is which, i.e. Inglewood is a City while Hollywood is not; Studio City is not a city, while Culver City is. Also, the nature of LA is that the boundaries between different cities within the basin are almost impossible to discern without road signs saying "Now Entering: __________".
posted by LionIndex at 6:39 AM on September 16, 2011


See also Boston ( + Cambridge + Brookline + Somerville + Arlington + Watertown + Charlestown et c.).
posted by whuppy at 6:53 AM on September 16, 2011


Historically, a lot of the reason that these suburban communities were annexed in the late 1800s/early 1990s has to do with utilities. In particular, places like Hollywood, Sawtelle and the San Fernando Valley were annexed to Los Angeles in the early twentieth century in order to be connected to the municipal water system (and as anybody from the West knows, water is a HUGE political issue out there). Similarly, Lakeview in Chicago, now viewed as one of the core urban neighborhoods, was annexed to the city* under the pressure for public service demands.

There's a reason that North and Western avenues are called that: they actually were the northernmost and westernmost streets of the city at one point. Clever, eh?
posted by andrewesque at 8:06 AM on September 17, 2011


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