Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, USA

Two rivers converge at Harpers Ferry: the Potomac and the Shenandoah. It must have taken their combined strength to cut through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Still, the cut is so narrow that trains must tunnel through the north ridge rather than follow the river's shore. [2007]

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Columbia, Missouri, USA

The symbolic entrance to Columbia's City Hall is always open. It's a steel-and-glass walk-through sculpture that keynotes Columbia's history by mining the archives of landscape change. At night, the keyhole becomes a light box. [2015]

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jefferson City, Missouri, USA

Today's the last day the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall will be on the State Capitol Grounds in Jefferson City. More than 58,000 names are etched into the real wall in Washington, D.C. This half-size replica takes those names around the country to memorialize the fallen heroes of the Vietnam War. [2015]

Sunday, September 27, 2015

St. Louis, Missouri, USA

The Old St. Louis County Courthouse was built in 1828. It is remarkably similar to the Helsinki Cathedral which was built starting in 1830 and finishing in 1852. When the dome on the courthouse was put up in 1861, the architecture became even more similar. How do you explain such comparability given the 5,000 miles that separate Helsinki and St. Louis? [2015]

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Helsinki, Finland

Russian Czar Alexander II doubled as the Grand Duke of Finland during his mid-nineteenth century reign. He was honored with a statue on Senate Square because he gave back to Finland more of its autonomy. That his image survived the twentieth century is nothing less than miraculous. Today, he retains his perch in front of the Helsinki Cathedral. [2005]

Friday, September 25, 2015

Macau S.A.R., China

Casino owners in Macau salivate when they think of the construction project materializing before their eyes right now:  a series of bridges and tunnels that will link Macao to Hong Kong and the mainland. As planners dreamed about engineering the mouth of the Pearl River, they must have looked back on the Chesapeake Bay for inspiration. [2011]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New York, New York, USA

St. Michael's Church used to be the top dog in town. Its steeple could be seen from the entire neighborhood, a not-too-subtle reminder of what should be your priorities in life. Now, the tower down the block has taken over the visual landscape and society's priorities as well. [2008]

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA

Pope Francis' visit to the United States gets underway today. Like Roman Catholics all across the country, Our Lady of Guadalope's parishioners will be praying the Rosary extra devoutly all week. Welcome back to the Western Hemisphere, Holy Father! [2013]

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

September 22 has become a national holiday in Estonia. Resistance to Soviet occupation began that day in 1944 when Soviet forces entered Tallinn and hoisted the hammer-and-sickle. The occupation lasted until 1991 when the Estonian flag returned to the landscape. Estonia is now a member of NATO and its national colors are seen in every NATO parade. [2014]

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bristol, England, UK

Castle Park is at the core of historical Bristol. Of the castle itself, only a few remnants of the foundation remain. Of St. Peter's Church, however, a hulking shell looms over the landscape. The church was hit during the Bristol Blitz of 1940 and was never brought back to life. [2015]

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Akhtala, Armenia

The annual pilgrimage to Akhtala monastery is taking place today. Because of the complex history of the border region where it is located, the grounds will be thronged with not only Armenian Christians, but Georgian and Greek Christians as well. Pilgrims will enter through the main gate, seen here, and proceed to the 10th century church. [2015]

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Australia has a robust film industry of its own: rather surprising since its population is little more than 20 million. The premier of Footy Legends in Sydney was as glamorously red carpet as any in Westwood. Its setting? Sydney's western suburbs. Its star? A Vietnamese-born Australian, Anh Do. [2006]

Friday, September 18, 2015

Athens, Greece

The United States could have more compact cities, too, if everyone switched to motorbikes. Instead, as families have gotten smaller, automobiles have gotten bigger. We now supersize our cars instead of our families, all the while claiming that it is too expensive to have more kids. [2006]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey

It is amazing how a few sheltered coves still exist along the Bosporus in the midst of Istanbul, one of the world's megacities. It would be so easy to fill in this one and thus contribute to someone's real estate empire. Perhaps the adjacency of the Dolmabahçe Mosque has guaranteed its fortunes. Right beyond is the Dolmabahçe Palace. [2015]

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fes, Morocco

The medina of Fez is crowded and car-free. Deliveries are made on mules. Trucks couldn't navigate this street. Walled cities throughout North Africa all share a set of common characteristics, and compact spatial form is one of them. [1989]

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trieste, Italy

What catches your attention here? The wrist band, perhaps? It's the Brazilian flag. There are two possibilities. First, he may be a supporter of the Brazilian national football team, but that would be slightly unusual for an Italian. Second, he may be a return migrant, of Brazilian birth but with Italian blood, who has decided to return to his ancestral home. [2008]

Monday, September 14, 2015

Brussels, Belgium

The graying of Europe is one of the metatrends on the world demographic map. Antidote? Let those Syrians in! They will be the kids you didn't have. [2015]

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Aurora, Colorado, USA

Face it: The children of immigrants are the future of America. Haven't they always been? These children and their mothers have just left church (Ethiopian Orthodox) and are ready for a new week of nation-building: U.S. nation-building. Ethiopia's loss is America's gain. [2013]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

People can't agree on what it is. People can't agree on whose is best. People can't agree on how it's spelled. Barbecue or barbeque or Bar-B-Q or BBQ: It's not for those who like certainty in life. It is for those who want a little regional spice. It might just be the perfect anti-global food, highly resistant to standardization. [2007]

Friday, September 11, 2015

New York, New York, USA

A day after September 11, 2001, a chain-link fence in Greenwich Village became the backdrop for an evolving memorial to New York City's victims of terrorism. Thousands of "Tiles for America" were affixed to the fence over the next eleven years. In 2012, the tiles were removed, but we will NVR FORGET. [2008]

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Macau S.A.R., China

Macau is the global city of the gambling industry. If you are working your way up the gambling hierarchy, start at your local 7-11, spend a week-end in Atlantic City, fly to Vegas for a week, and end up in Macau, where it would be easy for an addict to spend the rest of his life. [2011]

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Aleppo, Syria

Happy people make a happy place. Aleppo is no longer a happy place. Syria could have bucked the trend and tried a different path. The hereditary dictatorship could have looked around, seen what was happening in other Arab countries, and said: "We will try to manage the transition to a multi-party democracy peacefully." [1995]

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Les Escaldes, Andorra

Today is Andorra's national holiday and the feast day of the country's patron saint, Our Lady of Meritxell. Meritxell is a common given name in the Catalan-speaking realm. But, a better choice for Anglophones with newborns might be Andorra. Why not? Be the first to name your daughter after a trio of Pyreneean valleys. You can call her Andie or Dorrie. [2005]

Monday, September 7, 2015

Marbella, Andalusia, Spain

Don't labor on Labor Day.
Stop, rest, and play.
Remembrance revive,
Of a summer alive
With friends, fun, and bling.
(Forget that bee sting.)
Look forward to fall,
And thank God for all.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Meet the wired generation: fully and completely cocooned in a technological shell. His elders may use technology, but he lives it. If you were a biologist, would you classify the relationship as symbiotic, epiphytic, or parasitic? [2015]

Saturday, September 5, 2015

LIverpool, England, UK

The pumphouse is now a pub. Having been built in 1878 on Liverpool's waterfront, it has transitioned from the Industrial Era to the Post-Industrial Era. When it was built, Albert Dock became famous for innovative design and technology. Now, it's a World Heritage Site and people pleaser. [2011]

Friday, September 4, 2015

Gabrovo, Bulgaria

Gabrovo prides itself on being the humor capital of Bulgaria, and it begins at the bus station. The umbrellas recall a famous story that circulates around town. Why are the cats in Gabrovo tailless? So their masters can close the door faster when they come in from outside, thus saving heat. [2014]

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cardiff, Wales, UK

The international mermaid, icon of globalization, confronts the Welsh dragon, icon of national pride. The mermaid clearly has the upper hand and the larger size. What do you get if you cross a mermaid with a dragon? Glocalization. [2006]

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bangkok, Thailand

Oh, no! Darth Vader ate the mermaid and took over the company! There can be only one star in this galaxy. Seeing a sign like this reminds you of what type of diffusion? (a) relocation diffusion, (b) contagious diffusion, (c) stimulus diffusion. [2011]

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp may be in the Kingdom of Belgium, but its country is Flanders. The Flemish lion seems quite at home on the Grote Markt in front of the stadhuis, reminding everyone that the history of Flanders is so much longer and richer than the history of Belgium, which was created only in 1830. [2015]