Do-Gooders: Next American City

Do-Gooders: Next American City

Do-Gooders: Next American City

After a long stretch of suburban growth and urban flight, American cities are going through a period of revival. And they have a new magazine rooting for them -- Next American City. The goal of the magazine, according to editor-in-chief Diana Lind, is to be a "forum for discussion in terms of ways to make cities better and more lively as well as economically, socially and environmentally sustainable." Founded in 2002 by three Yale grads (who now sit on the magazine's board and are all disciples of urban planning scholar Alexander Garvin), the wonderful, forward-looking NAC has gone from being a scrappy journal with no paid employees to a full-on glossy magazine with 50,000 subscribers and three full-time staff members. The quarterly magazine based in Philadelphia features articles that run the gamut from the slow public transportation recovery of New Orleans, the "insanity of escalators" and the day labor dilemma, to the future of parent-cooperative institutional models. 

With a kicky tone and an attractive design style, the magazine aims not only to appeal to planners and policymakers but to the general concerned city-dweller. But the not-for-profit is more than just a magazine. This past fall, Next American City kicked off URBANEXUS, a multi-city conference tour featuring lectures, panels and get-togethers as a way to bring issues discussed in the magazine directly to the communities involved.

More than anything, what comes through the pages of the magazine is the writers' love of cities, and why cities need to be saved, improved and revitalized. Says Lind, who herself grew up in New York City, "I love cities for the people they attract -- the ambitious and restless people that need to expose their ideas and be influenced in return. At their best, cities exist as eras of ideas -- Paris in the 1930s, New York in the 1970s, etc. -- rather than actually map-able places." Alexis Swerdloff

Pictured (l-r): Creative Director Anthony Smyrski and Editor Diana Lind.


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Posted at 12:50 on Feb 01, 2012