The Navigator newsletter lands in your inbox every other Friday. Sign up here!

Hello, and happy weekend!

We're trying out a new Saturday time slot for Navigator, in time for weekend lounging. Let us know what you think.

And now, the good stuff: A number of you wrote back to me after I asked for your thoughts on the link between loneliness and geography. I wanted to share some excerpts:

Andrew Aldrich, Oakland:

Loneliness is not about being alone, really. It's about feeling a mismatch between oneself and one's environment.

The great question debated by philosophers of place is whether suburbia is, by nature, alienating. Does the “geography of nowhere”—places that are neither country nor city, and that look virtually identical to other such places, not just around the country but around the modern world, create souls that feel like ciphers in a technologically reproduced environment where they cannot feel fully alive? Reading or watching novels or movies that celebrate suburbia, one gets the feeling that that can't be the whole story. There is life in the suburbs. And yet, the ghost of Columbine must plague our thoughts about this. Has the culture of suburban modernity helped foster the alienation of young people?

Angela Conte, Santa Rosa:

Ali Amani, Kabul:

City life is always pretty fast-paced. There is a non stop cycle of competition, pressure, and mental stimulation directed towards the individual. Our physical, social, and mental capacities are limited and we cannot cope up with all the pressures in the long run; therefore, as a defense mechanism, we attempt to protect our individualities and isolate ourselves in the process.  

(Xcopyart)

What we’ve been writing:

So, is D.C. cool or not? If you’re still debating that, you’re missing the point. (OK, yes, but…maybe D.C. would’ve been cooler if it had these cool abstract metro maps below.)

This Estonian city has a new logo: a cannabis leaf. ¤ The story of the man who documented Toronto’s formative years. ¤ What Ecatepec de Morelos, Los Angeles, and Istanbul have in common. ¤ London’s tube gets in touch with its feminist side. ¤ The digital jukebox “erodes the premise of quaint regionalism as bars of all kinds transform into Top 40 danceries.” ¤

(Vignelli Center for Design Studies, RIT)

What we’ve been taking in:

The Solo Cup’s Chicago origins. (Chicago) ¤ On Nairobi’s burgeoning skate culture. (CNN) ¤ How the bougainvillea came to California. (KCET) ¤ “Small-bany, some call it. Shmalbany, I prefer. Albanality, a friend of mine says, but the syllables don’t work out.” (Longreads) ¤ Black cowboys are real. (Bitter Southerner) ¤ The “roaring girls” of queer London. (Longreads) ¤ The mesmerizing symmetry of Chinese tchotchke stores. (Nowness) ¤ The enchanted forest from Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” but IRL. (New York Times) ¤ Can gentefiers and barrio activists find common ground in Boyle Heights? (Los Angeles Times) ¤

Know the neighborhood social media forum Nextdoor? CityLab fellow Teresa Matthew brought to our attention a Twitter handle that posts some of its…more interesting exchanges:

The twitter account @bestofnextdoor posts screenshots of snippets from different Nextdoor community groups, and its timeline contains a mix of concerns over missing storefront apostrophes, the Illuminati at local libraries, and chickens in blue pants. Hell may be other people, but hilarity is reading about other peoples' neighborhoods.

View from the ground:

@dr_zmo photographed an Orthodox church in Jerusalem, @halfco captured the mouth of a Paris metro stop, @mallory_wanders took in a rainy Rome scene, and @enkrall shot a van by the sea in Santo Domingo.

Tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #citylabontheground.

Over and out,

Tanvi

@Tanvim

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  2. An illustration of the Memorial Day flood in Ellicott City, Maryland.
    Environment

    In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning

    Storms supercharged by climate change pose a dire threat to river towns. After two catastrophic floods, tiny Ellicott City faces a critical decision: Rebuild, or retreat?

  3. A line of stores in Westport, Connecticut
    Equity

    Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

    In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

  4. A woman walks down a city street across from a new apartment and condominium building.
    Design

    How Housing Supply Became the Most Controversial Issue in Urbanism

    New research has kicked off a war of words among urban scholars over the push for upzoning to increase cities’ housing supply.

  5. Life

    Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life

    Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.