Podcast: Crossing continents

Inside Jordan's Za'atari refugee camp. Image: Christopher Herwig/UN Women.

If you live in Britain – and if you don't, I sort of envy you right now - you'll know that it's a pretty torrid time in politics right now. Next Thursday, there's a referendum to determine whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union.

So, since migration to cities is this week's theme – and since it's, frankly, about all we can think about right now – Barbara and I begin this week's episode by talking about that referendum, and why cities so often have a more international outlook than their hinterlands.

This week, you can also hear:

  • Emmanuel Akinwotu on how Lagos has coped with ballooning from a city of 1m, to one of 20m, in under half a century. You can a selection of Emmanuel's writing for us here.
  • Olivia Cuthbert on her experiences visiting Za'atari, the refugee camp that's rapidly solidifying into Jordan's fourth largest city. You can read her – frankly quite magnificent – piece on the camp here.
  • Lyman Stone, an agricultural economist for the US government, on life in the city Americans love to hate, Washington DC. (In another life, Lyman is one half of a great US history podcast, Migration Nation. It’s brilliant, so you should all subscribe to it.)

Finally, our map of the week – which, I'll be honest, we do no justice to whatsoever - is this magnificent piece of work by Duncan Smith of UCL's Centre for Advanced spatial Analysis. It shows, at a glance, the growth of all the world's major cities over the past 60 years. 

Click to expand.

You can read more about that map here.

You can listen to the episode below. You can also subscribe on AcastiTunes, or RSS.


 

 
 
 
 

Here are all the names of London tube stations that we’ve just stopped noticing are weird

What the hell. Swiss Cottage. Image: Oxyman/Wikipedia Commons.

Angel

 “The next station is Gnome. Change here for Elf, Cherubim and Gnome.”

Arsenal

Would be a lot less weird if it wasn’t a good eight miles away from where they actually built the arsenal.

Bank

It’s like something from a kid’s picture book where everything is labelled incredibly literally. Was even sillier when the next station along was still called Post Office. (It’s St Paul’s now.)

Barking

Disappointing lack of doggos.

Barkingside

Same, also a surprisingly long way from Barking.

Bromley-by-Bow

But not by Bromley which, once again, is eight bloody miles awy.

Canada Water

No.

Chalk Farm

Chalk isn’t a plant, lads.

Cockfosters

...

Elephant & Castle

What.

Grange Hill.

Hainault

Hang on, that’s in Belgium isn’t it?

Hornchurch

There are literally horns no the church, to be fair.

Kentish Town

Actually in Middlesex, nowhere near Kent.

Knightsbridge

Not only no knights, but no bridge either.


Oval

Might as well have a station called “oblong” or “dodecahedon”.

Oxford Circus

Plenty of clowns though, amirite?

Perivale

Does any other London suburb promise such a vertiginous drop between name and reality?

Plaistow

To be honest the name’s fine, I just wish people knew how to pronounce it.

Roding Valley

The river’s more than 30 miles long, guys, this doesn’t narrow it down.

Seven Sisters

None that I’ve noticed.

Shepherd’s Bush

“Now where are those sheep hiding now?”

Shepherd’s Bush Market

Because one bush is never enough.

Southwark

1. That’s not how that combination of letters should sound. 2. That’s not where Southwark is. Other than that you’re fine.

Swiss Cottage

Sure, let’s name a station after a novelty drinking establishment, why the hell not.

Waterloo

Okay, this one is definitely in Belgium.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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