Enter a high-rise 'universe' and discover the secrets that other city dwellers keep

Share this Article

Every building in New York City is a neighborhood unto itself, each one with a distinct vibe and community, governed by laws both codified (see: co-ops) and unspecified (see: how residents in a building just happen to know to avoid a specific dryer in the basement because it gets so hot it practically cooks your clothing). Essentially, you could make a full-fledged documentary about each one and have more than enough material.  Is it the same elsewhere? CityLab’s new digital series, The Universe Within, which they’ve described as a “choose your own adventure” type of experience, has some surprising answers.

Created in association with the National Film Board of Canada, Universe Within looks at people living in high-rises around the world — Mumbai, Seoul and Toronto are represented, but NYC is sadly omitted, though takeaways nevertheless abound — and how residing atop each other has shaped them. It’s a trippy interactive tour where you’ll need to pick a “spirit guide” — one’s a nine-year-old — to help you navigate, but well worth wading into, if only to meet the likes of Ricardo, a podcaster broadcasting from an Italian housing project called Corviale, whose Web radio show has found success, in part due to teen listeners who live in the building. Or Ahmed, a photographer from Azerbaijan, who finds himself becoming friends with his Armenian neighbors in a half-finished tower in Baku.

If they can find peace, why not New Yorkers arguing over noise?


Is your neighbor driving you nuts or worse? Here's what to do

Soundproofing to save your sanity

My high-rise windows only option a few inches. What gives?

Why high-rise living may not be all it's cracked up to be

Also Around the Web