Dispatches

Observed: Crowds

Observed: Crowds

In back alleys, street markets, and hidden workshops around the world, microentrepreneurs churn out new ideas and products to help them get by or improve the world around them. We could philosophize on this all day. But here in Observed, we ask our correspondents to say nothing. For the next […]

Infographic: Counting the Crowd

Infographic: Counting the Crowd

What happens when a group of people band together? It depends. The organization of a crowd, the tools it uses, and its culture all determine its impact. Is it structured to collaborate or fight? Does each node have ways to connect with and trust the others? Do its members require […]

Little Lagos, Legit in London

Little Lagos, Legit in London

Mangoes, mobiles, money exchange, Nollywood DVDs, eyelashes, and weaves.

You can find it all at Ziyad’s Cash & Carry, a multi-shop storefront occupying a sweet, sprawling, 1,600-square-foot corner spot on Rye Lane in South London. Ziyad, a confident 16-year-old from Afghanistan, manages the property after school and on the weekends.

Organ Trail

Organ Trail

In China, it is said that there are two types of slaves: those who make Apple products, and those who buy Apple products. Shangkun, a teenage boy from Anhui province, represents the latter. In April 2011, he let a surgeon remove one of his kidneys so it could be transplanted […]

Infographic: Sizing the Swap

Infographic: Sizing the Swap

A tit-for-tat, a rub of the back—things don’t change hands without a reason. And they don’t move freely or fairly without trust. Here, we explore the agreements that make trade tick. From street-market haggling techniques to global supply chains and treaties, the nature of exchange comes down to the decisions […]

Thin Wire

Thin Wire

Down an unlit side street in Khartoum, Sudan, a crumpled, dirty note slides out from under a rotting rubber band. Then another. And another. A hand counts the notes on the receiving end. A gift of cash from abroad has both travelled a thousand miles and yet not at all. […]

Observed: Trade

Observed: Trade

In back alleys, street markets, and hidden workshops around the world, microentrepreneurs churn out new ideas and products to help them get by or improve the world around them. We could philosophize on this all day. But here in Observed, we ask our correspondents to say nothing. So for the […]

Barter in Bloom

Barter in Bloom

Standing in the park’s morning sun, Guadalupe Sanchez wears an old marine blue jumper and an energetic smile. Instead of the typical droves of runners, the park boasts a row of small stalls. Sanchez arrived with a bag full of household recyclables; she now carries a load of organic vegetables. […]

From the Makery: Imaginary Adventures, Building with Beer Bottles and Schools Around the World

From the Makery: Imaginary Adventures, Building with Beer Bottles and Schools Around the World

From the Makery is a weekly roundup of inspiring stories of making collected from around the web. Follow our Facebook page or our Twitter feed for daily updates. Imaginary Adventures Luka, a 12-year old boy with muscular dystrophy, dreamed of playing sports, swimming, and skateboarding. He teamed up with a […]

From the Makery: Tiny Libraries, Dancing from the Favelas, and a Grassroots Bikeshare

From the Makery: Tiny Libraries, Dancing from the Favelas, and a Grassroots Bikeshare

From the Makery is a weekly roundup of inspiring stories of making collected from around the web. Follow our Facebook page or our Twitter feed for daily updates. Tiny Libraries The Little Free Library project commissioned ten micro-libraries for installation around NYC. This one, by Stereotank, resembles a water tower […]