Portraits of the East’s monks, pilgrims & wanderers

First published back in 2011, Steve McCurry’s Looking East is a breathtaking showcase of the photographer’s best portrait work. The images, which were shot during his extensive travels across Southeast Asia, focus on the region’s outsiders: from monks and children to pilgrims, wanderers and migrants.

Like much of McCurry’s work, the collection teeters between the edges of cutting-edge photojournalism and fine art – presenting people from all walks of life in a beautifully unified way, and breaking the boundaries between race, language and culture.

Now, the book is making a return, with Phaidon opting to publish it in paperback for the first time this week. “[Looking East is] regarded as one of the most iconic publications of contemporary documentary photography,” a spokesperson said of the … Read the rest

How Seattle Is Winning the War on the Car Commute

Seattle is among the fastest growing cities in the U.S., thanks largely to Amazon’s addition of 35,000 employees since 2010. For all the economic benefits that come with growth, it has also created a variety of civic headaches, crippling traffic chief among them.

But thanks in part to considerable efforts by the region’s largest employers, the share of commuters driving solo into downtown Seattle is on a dramatic decline.

Just 25 percent of workers traveling into the center city drove themselves, according to the results of the latest annual commuter survey by the Seattle Department of Transportation and nonprofit partner Commute Seattle. This is the lowest share since the city started keeping track in 2010.

The number of cars is also trending downwards, according to … Read the rest

Why Southern Schools Are Talking Secession

When I moved to Durham, North Carolina, in the mid-1980s, the county had two separate school systems. At its center, like a bulls-eye, was the city system, which was overwhelmingly African American and had the state’s highest dropout rate and some of its lowest test scores. Its undersized tax base, including a hollowed-out downtown, made it hard to raise enough revenue to close the gap.

Encircling it was the county system, which was whiter and more suburban, and it included Research Triangle Park, home of taxpaying giants like IBM. By raising the property tax one cent, the county could reap $30 per student, whereas the city could only reap $17. Not surprisingly, the county spent twice as much per pupil on instructional materials, and had the … Read the rest

The complicated relationship between food & race in the UK

There’s no doubt that the food industry has a complicated relationship with race. Staples in kids of immigrants’ diets growing up in the West – like kimchi, turmeric and medjool dates – were once derided for being strange in school canteens. Yet now, they’ve been repackaged as trendy superfoods for the masses.

While foods that PoC once hid or swapped in favour of ‘acceptable’ Western dishes have now become wellness buzzwords, PoC still remain sidelined from the mainstream food industry. In one round-up of the most significant food books published in 2017, not one featured a non-white author. Meanwhile, back in 2015, people of colour were found to be paid 56 per cent less than their white counterparts in the U.S. restaurant industry.

The … Read the rest

Overnight at Harry Potter University

Overnight at Harry Potter University

© Jodie Taylor

If you ever find yourself in Oxford, England in search of a bed for the night, you might consider booking a room at the student dorm accommodation of Christ Church College, University of Oxford for a real-life Harry Potter experience. The university not only provides accommodation over the summer months, but your stay comes with an all access pass to wander the campus, halls and gardens out of hours. Largely empty in summer, several parts of the campus feature in the Harry Potter films, including the famous dining hall, and the college even served as an inspiration to Alice in Wonderland.Read the rest

The Case for Making Cities Out of Wood – Facts So Romantic

An Alphabet subsidiary is planning to build a futuristic neighborhood, not out of concrete and steel, but wood—and wood is looking good.Photograph by Daici Ano / Flickr

Last month, Dan Doctoroff, the C.E.O. of Sidewalk Labs, Google’s sibling company under Alphabet, answered a question about what his company “actually does” during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, replying, “The short answer is: We want to build the first truly 21st-century city.” Quayside, a Toronto neighborhood the company is developing in partnership with a Canadian tri-government agency, is the first step toward Doctoroff’s goal. It has been in the news recently because it could inspire a Black Mirror plot: It will be built from “the Internet up,” according to a project document, a merger of … Read the rest