Jessica Leigh Hester

Jessica Leigh Hester

Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.

The Wisdom of Garbage

Researchers are digging into heaps of discarded food to uncover clues about why we throw so much of it away—and how cities can cut the waste.

Here Are the Gerrymandering Valentine's Cards You Need Right Now

Map enthusiast Blair Thornburgh is so fascinated by redistricting that she whipped up some love letters to democracy.

How to Observe Your City

A new book offers a toolkit to help urbanites look closely and carefully.

Politics on the Plate

In a divisive climate, restaurants across the U.S. are dishing up a serving of activism.

The Surprising Relevance of an All-Night Philosophy Rave

The Brooklyn Public Library teamed up with the French Embassy for a festival that argues that slow, deliberate thinking matters more than ever.

Picturing 100 Years of Life Aboard the Paris Métro

A new photography book captures the cultures that collide underground.

After the Marches, What Happens Next?

Many attendees of the Women’s March viewed the demonstrations as a jumping-off point; others saw them as the continuation of decades of work. Here, some of them share their stories.

Curating Symbols of a Country in Turmoil

Museums and libraries are collecting ephemera that encapsulates social upheaval.

The Detroit Startup Helping Women Craft a Path Out of Homelessness

How a nonprofit and a small jewelry company team up to help homeless women get back on their feet.

The Guatemalan Towns Plastered With Icons of America

When workers emigrate to the U.S., the regions they leave behind often adopt identities that straddle borders.

The Phone Booth for Japanese Mourners

On the outskirts of Otsuchi, a town battered by the 2011 tsunami, a rotary phone is a gathering place for people to recall loved ones lost.

A Globetrotting Filmmaker, Seeking Answers About Our Urban Future

Oscar Boyson’s documentary is a jet-setting look at problems and solutions in cities centers across the world.

Enlisting Cities in the War on Food Waste

Metropolitan regions are “really important players in this whole picture,” says Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bringing Christmas Back Downtown

Shoppers once flocked to the centers of American cities during the holidays. Today, boosters are using the season to spur urban revival.

Excavating the Legacy of the Internment Camps

Through new research and exhibitions, historians are racing to preserve stories from the forced relocation of Americans and Canadians of Japanese descent during World War II.

What Makes Food 'American'?

A new book samples eight flavors that unite people across decades and demographics.

1.4 Million People, 1 Bookstore

The Bronx is set to lose its only bookseller. An independent shop hopes to take its place.

Three Cities Where Santa Acts Like a Local

Holiday celebrations in Houston, Chicago, and Portland have a distinctly hometown flair.

The Town That Forgot About Its Japanese Internment Camp

A small town in rural Ontario harbored a World War II-era secret. Should it find a way to preserve a dark moment in its history, or let the past disappear for good?

When Food Gets Gentrified

A new documentary about New York’s chopped cheese sandwich digs in to what happens when pricey restaurants adapt bodega fare.