World Wide Wednesday: New York, Shanghai and Pajarito Mesa

Each week we will be focusing on blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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Good Magazine has devoted its newest issue entirely to neighbourhoods. Check it out online for tips on starting a community garden and strategies for throwing an amazing block party.

• By this time next month the most expensive world fair in history will be in full swing in China’s largest city. Shanghai continues to build intensely in preparation for the lavish event having already constructed massive pavilions, new subway lines and an additional airport terminal. The Washington Post reports on how China is preparing for the World Expo and what lessons the country learned from the equally extravagant Beijing Olympics.

• Bad manners on New York subways have spurred guerrilla activists into action. Graphic designer jayshells has distributed 400 “public service” posters across the city’s subway trains outlining some of the most obnoxious public transit behaviour. Animal New York has photos of jayshells 10 original posters which cover topics such public nail clipping, noise pollution and physical contact.

The New York Times looks at Pajarito Mesa, the New Mexico community that exists entirely off the grid. Home to 400 families, the treeless plateau outside Albuquerque, has been waiting for electricity and water for nearly 20 years.

• Thanks to a government project that tracks noise levels in London, artist Simon Elvins has created a map that plots the city’s most silent spaces. As explained on Arkinet, while most maps of noise levels look at a city’s loudest places, Elvins’ “Silent London” map turns the convention on its head revealing an often overlooked and hidden
“landscape of quiet spaces”.

photo of New York Subway from Ed Yourdon