+
I never realized how dumb our cities are until I saw what a smart one looks like.

This article originally appeared on 03.10.15


With the population growing and most of it happening in cities, these Canadian journalists wanted to take a closer look at whether our sprawling modern villages are up to the task of housing more humans.

Over half of the world lives in urban areas. That includes over 80% of people in the United States and 81% of folks in Canada, where this report was produced. Therein lies the problem.


A lot of modern cities are being described as obesogenic environments.

Dr. Karen Lee can tell you what that means:

Lee says our living environment has shaped public health for the worse:

"The ways in which we've been designing our cities have been making us sick. ... We've inadvertently designed physical activity out of our lives."

A healthy diet and regular physical activity are some of the most important things we can do for our health as individuals, but flawed city design has restricted opportunities for people to make those choices, which has contributed greatly to what are essentially public health epidemics — ones that require public health solutions.

Most cities have been designed for cars, not for people.

Look out your window and see for yourself. Brent Toderian, former chief city planner for Vancouver, says it's a big problem:

Toderian says city design that makes it easier for people to get around instead of cars is one way to make physical activity a more natural part of our lives. And a lot of major cities are beginning to look to Latin America for ideas about how to achieve that.

In the 1990s, Medellín, Colombia, was one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

The constant threat of drug-related violence made it a place people wanted to escape.

But today, Medellín stands as a model of creative urban design.

The city was desperate for change. And they may not have had the resources of the world's richest city, but with a few smart infrastructure investments, like outdoor escalators, suspended gondolas, and public gathering spaces, Medellín has been transformed into a place where people are proud to live.

Medellín's escalators cost only $6 million to build — "peanuts in the scheme of modern infrastructure projects."

Architect Carlos Escobar sees these developments as much more than just infrastructure upgrades:

"The new transportation system in Medellín ... is not only a physical solution. It is not only transportation. It is also a social instrument that involves the community, that integrates the community in all the city."

Medellín is more connected than it's ever been, which makes it easier for workers to get to their jobs, and it brings more action to the local economy, strengthens the community, AND encourages people to be physically active.

If you'd rather spend more time in your community than in your car, give this post a share and help spark more people's imaginations. The solutions are out there. And they're not as costly or far-fetched as a lot of us might think.

This was a fantastic news report by CBC News (great job, Canada!). Here's just a snippet, but check out the whole video if you wanna nerd out a little more like I did:



10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

5 easy ways to practice self care

Because taking care of yourself should never feel like a chore

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life we forget the important things: like taking care of ourselves. While binge watching your favorite show and ordering take out can be just the treat-yourself-thing you need, your body might not always feel the same. So we’re bringing you 5 easy ways to practice self-care that both you and your body will thank us for.

Keep ReadingShow less

Saving the life of one small animal among the billions upon billions of living things on Earth may not seem significant in the big picture, but when that one small animal's life is in your hands, it means the world.

Yassin Elmahgoub is a medical student from Egypt who recently shared the journey of a tiny baby parrot he rescued. The parrot, who he named Mumble, was born with birth defects and wasn't able to stand or walk. With the help of a parrot behavior consultant, Elmahgoub hand-fed Mumble, nursed him to good health and helped him develop mobility.

In a TikTok video that's been viewed more than 8 million times, Elmahgoub shared Mumble's journey from his earliest days until he was finally able to walk on his own.

Keep ReadingShow less