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Help Make Our Next Magazine: The Neighborhoods Issue Help Make Our Next Magazine: The Neighborhoods Issue
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Help Make Our Next Magazine: The Neighborhoods Issue

January 31, 2010

Welcome to the diary of our creative process for issue 019 of GOOD. We hope you'll want to collaborate with us in this open process.

 

We're in the process of assembling the next issue of GOOD, and our intention is—as always—to make the best possible magazine that serves the interests of all our our readers. We like to think we've gotten pretty good at guessing what might appeal to your sensibilities, and that we're creating a magazine that lives up to its mission of doing well by doing good. But we realized there's probably a better way to create a product that really caters to your needs and desires: we could just ask you what those are.

Which is why we've decided to open the door to the editorial office and invite you in. Below you'll find some collected musing on how this issue is taking shape. We'll be occasionally updating this series with thoughts on how the issue is progressing, and how you can be involved. We'll still be steering the ship, we're just hoping to get some navigational guidance from you. So let's get started!

There are lots of different ways we're thinking about the issue, but most of us are still relying on this description that our associate editor Patrick James come up with when we first started brainstorming:

In the same way that the slow issue responded to the ethos of "bigger, faster, now," I've been thinking about the neighborhoods issue as a response to globalization—not as a means of rejecting it outright, but certainly as an opportunity to challenge to the dominant cultural assumptions about what it means to be a citizen of the world or whatever. I think the questions of what constitutes a home/community and how we relate to each other feature prominently, as do elements of culture, smallness, and urban/rural development. Many people's conceptions of identity are thoroughly intertwined with the neighborhoods they call home—almost to the extent of how specific species come from specific ecosystems, and there's something fascinating (and timeless) about that.

Sharing is interesting to us (as our creative director is fond of saying, "Sharing is the new owning"). We've covered Zipcar a bunch, there's this "tool library" in Portland that lets you check out tools instead of owning them, and let's not forget NeighborGoods, the Craigslist for borrowing. We got a great pitch about Bright Neighbor, which seems like it could have some promise. Cowpooling is so hot right now.

Many of us wanted to look at suburbs—the history, the failure (real and received), the nuance, and what the future holds. One of our Refresh ambassadors shared this piece she'd written about saving the suburbs. Dwell devoted some serious energy to a similar topic with the Reburbia competition. There's this great photo project of the suburbs from on high. We also came across "The War Against Suburbia" and a Brookings Institute study on poverty moving outside the urban center. The idea of "right-sizing cities" is something Dan Kildee has talked about in our pages. Oh, and gated communities aren't necessarily so great, but they sure love them in China.

Modern alternative living experiments—especially urban ones—are definitely on our radar: ideas about co-ops, moving away from the single family home, cul-de-sac communes, camp for grownups. The Ainsworth collective is doing something interesting in Portland, Oregon (we may need to put a moratorium on Portland stories after this issue; everyone gets it, you guys are cool0. Stephanie Smith is trying to start a commune. Let's not forget Le Corbusier's bizarre Unite d'Habitation.

Alex Marshall has some interesting ideas about urbanism. So does Richard Florida (no, not Celebration Florida), and of course our old friends Geoff Manaugh and Alissa Walker. We love Candy Chang's tenant's rights flash cards. It probably wouldn't be crazy to talk to Mayor Fetterman again. Carol Coletta and Aaron Naparstek are certainly on the list. And so are the folks at Infrastructurist.

Some project, ideas, and institutions we've been inspired by: There's New York City Walk, and Walkscore (and Alex Steffen wondered if something like this article could be of interest to us). We've always been fans of the Watts House Project. Project Row House is cool too. And the Rural Studio absolutely blows our minds. Carrot Mob and 1BOG are worth mentioning here. Ditto Affinity Lab, That Google map of Robert Moses's unbuilt Manhattan expressways was a trip. Local currency is always a fun idea. And what's with that unbranded Starbucks? Cities that intrigue us: Marfa, Greensboro, Chattanooga, Grand Rapids.

That was a big list of stuff we're thinking about and working on for the issue now. If you have ideas, leads, or things you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.
Post your thoughts in the comments below, and for longer or original pieces, post something to our Community Board and tag it "neighborhoods."

On top of that, here are some things we know we're looking for:


  • Weird super-local things in your area. Rhode Island has coffee milk. Massachusetts has candlepin bowling. What do you have?

  • Bands or songs named after neighborhood establishments.

  • Your favorite fictional neighborhoods.


Finally, we've got a couple collaborations going with other websites and their communities:


  • We're looking for five artists, from five neighborhoods, to design five different covers for the issue (apply through Society6)

  • We're looking for photos of your favorite neighborhood establishment (submit through Pictory)


Anyway, that's a start. But as we mentioned above, we're hoping you'll tell us what we're missing, and help us figure out how to put all these pieces together.

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Help Make Our Next Magazine: The Neighborhoods Issue