First things first. It’s pronounced glō, like the word “glow”. Admittedly, “Global Landscapes of our Urban World” yields an acronym that only a native speaker of Dutch could love. But if one is willing to stretch the pronunciation rules of the English language—as if the English language actually conformed to any such rules—then this acronym is quite appropriate for the purpose of this site. As the NASA image below shows, large swathes of our planet literally glow at night because of its urban landscapes. Moreover, one might argue that our cities, at least when at their best, provide a certain glow to the human experience—a “steady radiance, a feeling of warmth, pleasure, and well-being,” to paraphrase some common dictionary definitions. (Now that we’re into metaphorical territory, it might be reasonable to pronounce the GLoOuW acronym alternatively as gloō, since cities are often described as providing the “glue” that ties human societies together, as crucibles of change, keystones of empire, and nodes of interaction. Given this particular site’s emphasis on the visual, however, let’s stick with “glow”.)

earth-at-night
Credit: NASA image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC

So, what then, is the purpose of this site exactly? It is to provide a place to share my emerging collection of photographs of cities around California, the United States, and to some extent, the world. These images are presented primarily as a series of photo essays that examine the interplay of the local and the global, the past and the present, the natural and the artificial, in shaping and reshaping our urban experiences. In addition, this site contains links to geotagged collections of the thousands of photographs I have taken of select urban landscapes around the world. As my travels continue, these collections will grow. While the photo essays are intended to tell my own stories around the cities I experience, the photo collections are meant to provide fodder for readers wishing to narrate stories of their own.

California and the West

Los Angeles and coastal Southern California
San Francisco and the extended Bay Area

Europe

Genoa
Munich and Salzburg
Istanbul

Acknowledgments

This site began as a sabbatical project during the Fall 2009 semester. Thank you to the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees and the Sabbaticals Committee of the SMC Academic Senate for affording me this opportunity. There have been several inspirations to this project, including the countless photo essays produced online by publications such as Foreign Policy, Der Spiegel, and the Wall Street Journal. Examples of photo-centric projects that have a more explicit, geographer’s interest in the cultural landscape, include the following:


Creative Commons License
All of the work at this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you have any comments or questions about what you find here, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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