A view of a Somali refugee camp at Liboi, Kenya, in 1992. Fazal Sheikh/Human Archipelago/Steidl

Hi friends,

For my last edition of Navigator,* I have a special treat in store for you. I spoke with novelist and author Teju Cole about his new book collaboration with photographer Fazal Sheikh. It’s called Human Archipelago.

I love that name because it reminds me of what I imagine is Navigator’s audience—a network of people around the world that functions like a community; a conglomerate of souls curious about the places they live and travel to, who are also interested in inspecting their own place in the world.

But back to Cole and Sheikh’s book, which has a bit more of a specific and timely focus. Through portraits and impressionistic text, the book explores the lives of displaced and dispossessed people around the world. Its structure affords the viewer/reader glimpses of a migrant’s journey and invites us to consider what stories, dreams, histories, and complications lie behind the steady gazes of the people pictured in the book. Alongside the images is Cole’s ruminative and impressionistic text, which provides another layer—deepening the experience. Hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

What we’re writing:

Forget Airbnb; here’s FairBnb! ¤ Designing a butterfly-friendly city. ¤ In cities, we’re spectators to the lives of our neighbors. ¤ What Jeff Bezos’s futuristic vision borrows from the 1970s. ¤ The surprising history of the American playground. ¤

(Ariel Aberg-Riger)

What we’re taking in:

Calcutta, then and now. (Quartz India) ¤ On traveling, with mom. (Glamour) ¤​ ​​​​​​“By any calculus, he was one of the first black celebrities in the South.” (The New Yorker) ¤ “The traffic is a permanent feature on the roads in Accra.” (Popula) ¤  Good night, Boa Vista. (n+ 1) ¤ German émigrés in Manhattan. (The Baffler) ¤ ​​​​​​“Thirty years living in New York and years of traveling for work had taught me that the fastest way to orient yourself with any city is to walk it as much as you can.” (Vice) ¤ Who owns the NYPD brand? (Vox) ¤

View from the ground:

@gmasera captured this sleek apartment building in Manhattan. @_bithia highlighted the many skyways in Atlanta. @__txiki__ saw this twisting tower near San Francisco's Embarcadero. @whatthebruff visited the shiny Seattle Public Library.

Tag us with the hashtag #citylabontheground and we'll feature your photos on CityLab’s Instagram page or pull them together for the next edition of Navigator.

*I’m off to a new adventure and will no longer be a staff writer for CityLab, but Navigator is not going anywhere. Future editions will be handled by my very able colleagues, so don’t miss out! It’s been a real joy writing Navigator, and hearing from you.

Over and out,

Tanvi

About the Author

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