Urban Cultures

August 31, 2014

With hundreds of millions of people moving into cities, we're wondering what shapes urban cultures. In this hour, Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk talks about how Istanbul shaped his writing. One historian argues that early liberal philosophies from Amsterdam shaped the United States. And we check in on cultural change as Shanghai - already the biggest city in China - grows.

Also, with the new round of calls for a "national conversation" about racism, NPR's Michele Norris talks about how difficult those conversations can be - even at home.

  1. Istanbul with Orhan Pamuk

    Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk says that Istanbul "made him." So when he sat down to write his memoirs, the city was at the heart of the collection.

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  2. New York via Amsterdam

    You know that the first settlers called Manhattan "New Amsterdam"? But the Dutch didn't just bring their sailing prowess and placenames with them. Russell Shorto thinks that liberal Dutch ideas about politics and society came too, and shaped the New World.

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  3. Unruly Places

    “Memories instilled in old places do seem to be one of the enemies of people who want to impose an ideology,” says geographer Alastair Bonnett. In Unruly Places, he says if you want a dynamic culture, change the way you see your town. 

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  4. Shanghai, Growing

    There's a great urbanization afoot in China. The government plans to move more than 100 million people into cities by 2020. But there's an old divide between rural and urban citizens. What happens when they become neighbors?

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  5. Dangerous Idea: Breaking Up America

    Novelist Stephan Eirik Clark's Dangerous Idea? Subdivide the United States into smaller countries.

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  6. On Our Minds: Talking About Racism

    Since Michael Brown was shot, there's a new round of calls for a national conversation about racism. Is that realistic? Are we ready for what we might hear? A couple of years ago, NPR's Michele Norris told us about how a family secret sparked difficult conversations.

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