Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
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. ¤
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) ¤