The Olympics offer up a lot of good stories, both about contestants who’ve broken barriers and the places in which the games are held. And Pyeongchang has a very good story.

The county, which is in one of the poorest districts of South Korea, is small, with 43,000 residents. In the past, it has been often been confused with the more well-known city of Pyongyang, on the other side of the militarized border in North Korea. In 2000, that prompted the far-flung South Korean town to capitalize the lowercase “c” in its name, the New York Times reported, in hopes of distinguishing itself. Sadly, it didn’t really take.

But now, the city’s third bid to host the Olympics has come through. And its residents are hoping that once the news crews leave, and the stadium is dismantled, some of that Olympics luck will keep them going.

By the way, if you didn’t catch the opening ceremony, you may have missed the grand gestures of geopolitical unity, the much-awaited return of Tonga’s shirtless flag bearer, Team Jamaica’s swagger, some choice body waves, that one kid who licked a TV camera, and the opening of a portal into another dimension. Here are some good GIFs to catch you up.

(Toby Melville/Reuters)

Reading List:

CityLab’s Laura Bliss wrote a deeply reported feature on WeWork—the co-working company she calls “the perfect manifestation of Millennial Id.” Here’s Laura, teasing out the tension in the company’s approach:

WeWork is trying to simultaneously build up its reputation as a coworking “community” for freelancers and as a headhunting and real estate platform for Fortune 500 companies. It’s hard to see how those two goals are compatible in the longterm, but if they are, we are headed for a pretty dystopic future of work. Case in point: Half of the first floor of South Williamsburg WeWork is dominated by a series of booths and counters where you can demo televisions and smartphones by Samsung. On one visit to this location, I met a WeWork member who worked for a gender-inclusive lingerie startup. She told me that she can feel “kind of small” in that space, but sometimes, after everyone’s gone home, she’ll pour herself a beer and curl up in a Samsung pod to watch a movie. “It’s a nice place to spend your time,” she said.

Other goodies: “New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison has a message for New Orleans bar-goers: Be good—you’re being watched.” ¤ Languishing local news + blockchain technology = ???  ¤ Urban coyotes and foxes are becoming BFFs! ¤ The Black Panther Party’s street art legacy. ¤ Beautiful WPA-themed posters of America’s parks—before and after climate change takes its toll. ¤

The past and future of Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. (Left: Ranger Doug poster in original WPA style; Right: Hannah Rothstein)

Here's what else we're reading, watching, and listening to:

“There are thousands of El Pasoans like me whose ties that bind them to Ciudad Juárez are familial or economic, or both.” (The New York Times)  ¤ What happens when you set up your very own “tech-mediated Downton Abbey.” (Gizmodo)  ¤ A cultural history of stowaways. (New Yorker) ¤ So, competitive gripping is a thing? (Narratively) ¤ Documenting the demise of India’s cinema halls. (The New York Times) ¤ Little L.A., where deportees from the U.S. adjust to life in Mexico. (Wall Street Journal) ¤ A Harlem photographer, in Dakar. (New Yorker) ¤ Young Jamaican synchronized swimmers, with big Olympic dreams. (The New York Times)  ¤ Instead of Robert E. Lee, there should be monuments to Henrietta Lacks. (Mic) ¤ The Bauhaus-designed socialist Utopia for … penguins? (Vice) ¤ A video game lets you run a failing shopping mall. (Bloomberg) ¤

The audio recommendation this week comes from Brentin Mock:

In the completely creepy, true-story podcast Atlanta Monster, documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey pulls off what no other person on earth has been able to do: Make you doubt André 3000. The podcast is a re-examination of the Atlanta child murders, which between the years of 1979 and 1981 claimed the lives of over two dozen black children in the “Black Mecca”—right as the city elected its first black mayor. A taskforce of local and federal law enforcement officials nabbed Wayne Williams, an African-American man, who was later convicted for killing two black men.

What does this have to do with André, aka 3 Stacks? Well, in his verse in his 2016 song with Travis Scott, “The End,” 3000 claims that Williams was indeed responsible and he even “put that on my grandma and everything.” But Payne Lindsey’s re-opening of the case raises more than enough questions about how Williams was collared, and about who else might have been involved in the children’s deaths, that you can’t help wish that Andre recanted this verse.

I have read and viewed numerous accounts of the Atlanta child murders over the past couple of decades and this podcast still gives me the chills.

View from the ground:

@nightwingg shot Grand Rapids, Michigan in the rain, @julio.a.c photographed a snowy morning in Motor City, @a_olko got low for this view of Manhattan skyscrapers, and @gigionearth captured the neon signs of Nice, France.

Show us the view from your city. Tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #citylabontheground.

Over and out,

Tanvi

@Tanvim

The Navigator newsletter lands in your inbox every other Friday.
Please forward to other curious urban dwellers; they can sign up right here.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  2. A disposal box at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. The tear stains around it have dried.
    Life

    Federal Law Leaves Marijuana in a No-Fly Zone

    Federal regulations mean that passengers flying from one weed-legal destination to another with their personal stash may still be breaking the law, but in at least one U.S. airport, that weed can fly.

  3. The Salk Institute, near San Diego
    Design

    This Is Your Brain on Architecture

    In her new book, Sarah Williams Goldhagen presents scientific evidence for why some buildings delight us and others—too many of them—disappoint.

  4. A person walks past the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
    Equity

    Revisiting the New Urban Crisis

    The shift toward a more inclusive urbanism has begun. But it will require time, commitment from city institutions, and political agency at the local level.

  5. A detail from a 1942 British Mandate map of Haifa, now a city in Israel.
    Maps

    Mapping Palestine Before Israel

    A new open-source project uses British historical maps to reveal what Palestine looked like before 1948.