Cities Project Slideshow Communities

Every City Has a Signature 

Untranslatable words reveal cultural relevance by Laurenne Sala

October 30, 2014
Part 29 of 43 See all ›

The GOOD Cities Project

We create the cities we love, and the cities we love create us.

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Cities and places fill us with certain feelings. There’s a flair in the flavors and sounds of Miami fill us with the insatiable urge to dance, while a stroll through a leafy Chicago neighborhood makes us want to greet every passerby with kindness. We may not notice, but we can feel the spirit of a city, apparent in the way the locals greet each other, a certain resilience after defeat, or swelling pride after a hard-won independence.  But how do we put that into words? One language may be (and often is) insufficient for all the cultures of the world. Words like the Serbian “inat” and the Danish “hygge” can express the heart of the cultures and their cities. Check out these beautifully hard-to-translate words here. 

And, in the meantime, tell us about your signature moments using #goodcitiesproject


The GOOD Cities Project is a five-month collaboration with Ford, exploring how we make our cities and how our cities make us. As part of the project, GOOD and Ford have commissioned cultural creatives across the country to help illuminate and celebrate the rich and vastly diverse points of view that make up each city's individual character. Each week, we will be exploring attributes that we believe are fundamental to living meaningful urban lives.

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Every City Has a Signature  Untranslatable words reveal cultural relevance