Cities of You

by Brian Foo

Cities of You is a project that envisions people as imaginary places. Inspired by Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, I travel through each city and describe their special properties- how the buildings are built, how the people live, its history, culture, and reputation. As the project progresses, I revisit some cities, describing how they evolve over time or enter unexplored parts of the cities. The intended result is to be able to imagine relationships as dynamic spaces in which one can visit, walk through, and explore.

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City #1: Fraboo (Brian F) City #2: Gnazai (Kai Z) City #3: Zodsti (Todd S) City #4: Ukivy (Vicky D) City #5: Ozhijah (Liza J) City #6: Uaeinn (Katie D) City #7: Esofou (Sue F) City #8: Vaddooi (David F) City #9: Lajhir (Rahul J) City #10: Kashkraa (Shakthi B) System #1: Yirooa (Priya K) System #2: Vinnsa (Calvin S) System #3: Rhyia (Raymond H) System #4: Tiah-ahi (Teriha Y) City #11: Lloncera (Angela C) City #12: Opazo (Patricia O) System #5: Lyscria (Priscilla Y) City #13: Maccioli (Michael C) City #14: Nongaha (Hoang T) City #15: Otagani (Ton G) Landmark #1: Elamai (Amelia R) City #16: Jirameas (Jason M) City #17: Apadayan (Amanda Y) System #6: Vumaaste (Avanti M) Landmark #2: Nanichai (Christian P) City #18 Eleses (Jesse L) City #19: Haestique (Stephanie Q) System #7: Nabeck (Becky T) City #20: Frandoo (Brandon F) Landmark #3: Seloung (Sou L) City #21: Ollena (Allen F) City #22: Sellumine (Michelle S) City #23: Aparthi (Keith P) City #24: Sheeshani (Stephanie S) Landmark #4: Moneley (Emily G) City #25: Vallahine (Harlan L) System #8: Oquimi (Monique K) System #9: Mitillae (Nilam P) City #26: Pennalie (Julian H) City #27: Loorukar (Suruchi D) Landmark #5: Chymellu (Michelle H) City #7, Visit #1: Esofou City #28: Ningrah (Kerning H) City #3, Visit #1: Zodsti System #10: Teelisira (Liis P) System #5, Visit #1: Lyscria City #29: Gililu (Lili G) City #10, Visit #1: Kashkraa Landmark #6: Ethamenoff (Steffen H) System #4, Visit #1: Tiah-ahi City #30: Llynsor (Roslyn L) System #2, Visit #1: Vinnsa System #11: Niaoutara (Mariana B) City #31: Roobeha (Deb O) System #1, Visit #1: Yirooa City #9, Visit #1: Lajhir System #12: Viemny (Mike P) City #32: Rameas (Maria F) System #3, Visit #1: Rhyia City #33: Rhögneer (Göran S) City #34: Kojani (Jonathan B) City #35: Hammansa (Adam S) System #13: Mandioas (Adam G) System #13: Mandioas (cont) Landmark #7: Crillomeno (Lori M) City #36: Taslura (Lauren T) City #37: Fuevenor (Victoria L) City #38: Nadillia (Lucinda W) System #14: Rhizzather (Heather P) City #39: Bremnali (Melani W) City #40: Ko-Lenala (Angie H) Landmark #8: Rennanneza (Joanne H) City #41: Tulloya (Luke T) Landmark #9: Yetensla (Casey L) System #15: Tessoti (Ted S) City #42: Warporasi (Swarm M) City #43: Yennetilbi (Lynette B) City #44: Orynnaci (Catherine Y) City #45: Waiiweh (Kawehi W) City #46: Raashebiza (Sarah B) Landmark #10: Myphmak (Kym P) City #47: Ataronobi (Oren T) City #48: Viantiah (Gianna W) City #49: Ganonathu (Jonathan L) City #22, Visit #1: Sellumine City #6, Visit #1: Uaeinn City #50: Yoothnia (Cynthia K) System #16: Hzoila (Lei Z) City #51: Elinelila (Lillian L) City #52: Vimayali (Divyesh M) City #53: Nezzanbetti (Bernadette P) Landmark #11: Teslaeryl (Cheryl T) Landmark #12: Anatati (Tatiana V) Landmark #13: Arnond (Brandon V) Landmark #14: Amelhi (Michael L) Landmark #15: Anirsti (Kristina L) City #22, Visit #1: Jirameas City #54: Gdilila (Kristin G) System #6, Visit #1: Vumaaste City #55: Vorotha (Evan R) City #15, Visit #1: Otagani City #55: Noonine (Bonnie J) City #56: Nembahh (Hemnabh K)

City #1: Fraboo (Brian F)

Fraboo is a city suspended between two mountain peaks. Despite the unsettling architecture, the citizens feel the fresh air and the amazing views justify the makeshift ambiance of the city itself. Every morning, workers leap from their suspended homes to their destinations below. All the citizens of Fraboo get along very well- not that they really have a choice since each person’s home literally depends on those of its neighbors. A spider web of ropes, cables, and chains connect each residence to the others and the mountain sides. Each piece of the web is kept under constant maintenance considering the propagating disaster that may ensue if just one line breaks. However, since most citizens have never stepped foot out of this web, the maintenance of the lines are done in blind faith since they have no concept of the danger of actually falling to solid ground. [See more]

City #2: Gnazai (Kai Z)

Gnazai is a city for those who want to stay close to home, but never be in one place for too long. Every morning, the citizens of Gnazai wake up to a different landscape. That is because Gnazai is constantly moving- 2.5 kilometers per day to be exact. Gnazai attracts people of all backgrounds- landscape painters, cartographers, vagabonds, and engineers who marvel at Gnazai's unrivaled technology. The massive engine at the heart of the city powers its colossal legs. All the waste that the citizens produce go directly into the engine that keeps it alive. So if the engine is the heart of the city, they are collectively the blood that fuels it. [See more]

City #3: Zodsti (Todd S)

Zodsti was built on a dare. How high can we build until it collapses? How far can we build until it breaks off? Over time, it came to be that your social status in Zodsti was not determined by wealth or occupation, but by risk and innovation. Zodsti attracts engineers and architects- but the special kind who build structures that should not exist. But this is not because the people of Zodsti are particularly reckless. Their unspoken secret is that they are actually very risk averse- often double and triple checking each beam, rope, and cable. The young are taught never to take risks. The oldest members of the city live in the section farthest over the chasm. [See more]

City #4: Ukivy (Vicky D)

Citizens of Ukivy can never agree on how their city should be laid out- so each year, they let the sun and soil decide. Before each spring’s last frost, there is a frantic rush to plant the right seeds in the right locations. Despite their best efforts, the result is never as they planned- each year is a seemingly random city layout. Some years your house is large and spacious, some years it barely blooms. The only constant is the city's central tree, which slowly grows with each passing year. Every autumn, citizens collect the seeds produced by their dwellings and recede into the central trunk, like a large migration to another time and place both familiar and unknown. [See more]

City #5: Ozhijah (Liza J)

In the city of Ozhijah, all the houses are built upon gigantic metal arms that move up and down. On any given day, an onlooking tourist might scoff at the city's seemingly disordered arrangement. The next day, another visitor might marvel at its immaculate symmetry. This is because each morning the citizens meet in the town hall to agree upon the algorithm to determine the city's layout for that day. Sometimes they choose beautifully arranged fractals; sometimes they choose seemingly chaotic numbers like the digits of pi. However, there are often heated debates as each citizen will fervently argue in favor of the sequence that makes their house the highest point that day- a rare occasion to be thoroughly enjoyed and not to be taken lightly. It is because of that, your status in Ozhijah is not determined by wealth or occupation, but a mixture of mathematical creativity, persistence, and probability. [See more]

City #6: Uaeinn (Katie D)

Uaeinn is a city made up of many smaller sub-cities, each contained within a cross section along implausibly elevated columns. What is curious about Uaeinn is that it started as a single city. But in order to keep intruders at bay, its citizens decided to make clones of their city, keeping the identity of the real city privy to only a select few. Over time, inter-city debate arose about the identity of the real city. However, unlike what one would expect, no city aspires to be the original city, but, to guarantee its safety, ensures it looks the same as its neighbor, since it cannot be labeled as the original city if it is copying another one. Since a city can have multiple neighbors, the result is constantly evolving city groups, playing endless games of telephone, where two cities can look identical one day and wildly different the next. [See more]

City #7: Esofou (Sue F)

The city of Esofou mimics the temperament of the day's weather. When it rains, the houses cry with paint dripping down their sides. When it snows, the legs of the houses become frigid and no longer sway with the wind. At night, the houses slowly creep towards the center of the city. During autumn, houses turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow, while during the summer, the roofs imitate flames of fire blowing in the wind. [See more]

City #8: Vaddooi (David F)

Vaddooi is a self-sustaining city made up of an inner and outer ring, much like a bicycle wheel. The city itself sits on the inner ring. Small ball bearings separate the inner ring from the outer ring. This allows the outer ring to roam the terrain, leaving the inner ring, the city, suspended in the air while benefiting from the resulting friction that is used to power the entire city. However, the city's movement is not entirely arbitrary. Since the city relies on momentum, citizens must ensure to pick routes that take advantage of downward slopes and steer clear of those that lead them into pockets they can never return from. [See more]

City #9: Lajhir (Rahul J)

You can visit Lajhir to admire its intricately fascinating geometry, stroll its notoriously misleading streets filled with deadends, or enjoy its annual festival of colors. However, most visitors come to speculate about the two colossal man-made mountains that stand in the center of the city. These mountains are filled with garbage, treasure, symbols, and dust. An equally massive mechanical arm continuously moves objects from one mountain to the other, in a pattern only known to the arm itself. Some people say the mountains were built only to display power- to intimidate neighboring cities. Some think the mountains contain the city's collective memory. The truth is that nobody really knows what those mountains were built for- not even the citizens of Lajhir, who never question the presence of the twin peaks which may have existed even before the Lajirans settled on this land. All they know is that the mechanical arm will keeping moving as they sleep, and the contents of the mountains become more colorful with each passing year. [See more]

City #10: Kashkraa (Shakthi B)

Long ago, the people of Kashkraa discovered a way to capture the energy of the sun. A tall, meandering fence made up of delicate yet durable wire surrounds the city as well as the great ball of energy that is suspended at the fence's peak. The outside viewer might be overwhelmed by the rambling labyrinth that occasionally shoots bursts of fire from the fractures near the powerful, glowing core. But those inside, looking up, become hypnotized by the dancing colors and the fire's music that hisses notes that are both light and black. [See more]

System #1: Yirooa (Priya K)

The Yirooa Global Communication Network, commonly referred to as "The Roo," is a global system of microscopic interconnected computers that enables billions of people to communicate worldwide. The Roo's complex infrastructure is made up of weather vane-like conduits that sit on top of roofs and microscopic devices that move rapidly through the clouds. The Roo is more popular in humid and wet climates as the components can move more efficiently with very little data loss in places with a lot of water vapor. The mercurial nature of the tiny computers causes occasional mistranslations that are more fascinating than bothersome. Sometimes your message becomes inverted or combined with another unrelated message. Often The Roo randomly corrects spelling errors or translates your message into what you actually intended it to be. Sometimes it turns your message into poetry. [See more]

System #2: Vinnsa (Calvin S)

The Vinnsa Transit Authority (VTA) is a global public transportation system serving thousands of cities worldwide. It is made up of an uncluttered network of shallow green pools of water. Those who use this system do not choose a destination, but simply fall into the emerald pools. Most of the time, you just float on the surface and go nowhere. However, sometimes the VTA brings you to another city, perhaps close by, or conceivably on the other side of the globe. Those who claim to understand the VTA say it brings you to where you should be- even if it is where you currently are. Some say it takes you where you want to be. Some say it's completely random. There have been reports where people have completely disappeared. Some have said, even though they weren't transported anywhere, they could have sworn the city felt differently. [See more]

System #3: Rhyia (Raymond H)

Rhyia a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible by language, the body, or nature. It is made up of a series of rectangles of varying color and transparency. Unlike traditional symbolic systems such as writing and language systems, the Rhyia system does not have a clearly defined set of base elements or symbols. A particular combination of color and transparency is used to represent something that can be expressed- a word, a phrase, an idea, a story. Movement is the third element in the Rhyia system. The rectangles of color may sometimes be static, in motion, accelerating, or sometimes move so fast that the colors merge. The Rhyia system typically is not used for communicating concrete information since it is filled with puns, double entendres, and hidden meanings. However Rhyia allows anyone to decipher clouds to pass the time or read a sunset like one reads a short story. [See more]

System #4: Tiah-ahi (Teriha Y)

Tiah-ahi is a natural phenomenon that occurs when light passing through the atmosphere is scattered in a way that color is momentarily perceived completely differently. Sometimes, after a violent thunderstorm, just as the sun completely sets, the ground glows with a spectrum of radiant colors. At this moment, if you wave your arms as fast as you can, you will begin to fade into your surroundings. Engaging conversations glow pink. At sea, you can see masses of land normally unperceived. And closing your eyes only enhances the effects. [See more]

City #11: Lloncera (Angela C)

Lloncera is the first and only city powered entirely by wind energy. Unlike traditional wind power generation, Lloncera does not use turbines. The citizens have discovered a way to absorb the shifts in wind currents in the world's most volatile climate zones. They do this through long, delicate, transparent chutes attached to the bottom of the city that dance along with the slightest breeze that slips by. As winds grow stronger and more temperamental, the chutes turn opaque and glow dark colors. At this point, the buildings are no longer rigid and begin to melt into the movements that surround them. It is said that, in this moment, if you touch the walls of the buildings, you will feel the vibration of the city's song. [See more]

City #12: Opazo (Patricia O)

Opazo is a city enclosed in a colorful shell. Every so often, the city closes itself for an indeterminate period of time, and re-opens with a completely different city layout. Long strands of thread document the many iterations of the city, which over the years have created a rainbow of colors that adorn the outside of the shell. However, some say the strands of color more accurately depict the relationships created between the citizens of Opazo, or perhaps the relationship between Opazo and other cities, since some threads break, some threads wear out, some grow stronger, and some grow brighter. [See more]

System #5: Lyscria (Priscilla Y)

Lyscria refers to the system of enigmatic sounds associated with heightened states of emotion or expression, frequently connected with the performing arts. A dancer, at the height of her act, produces a soft but commanding hum that permeates through the audience. A jazz musician reaches a point where he no longer needs to move his fingers as the Lyscria takes over. A fierce argument produces small explosions of dark noises. An embrace can be experienced as a whisper. [See more]

City #13: Maccioli (Michael C)

Maccioli is a self-replicating city that multiplies as the population grows. City engineers taught the buildings how to collect raw materials from their environment and manufacture copies of themselves. Over time, one will see a building grow thicker and thicker until it peels off into two. As a citizen, you become accustomed to the constant shifting of room sizes, landscapes, and neighbors. Wallpaper is shed like the skin of a reptile, which becomes evidence of the death and life of the city. [See more]

City #14: Nongaha (Hoang T)

In the center of Nongaha lies a massive pendulum that slowly oscillates not according to the Earth's rotation, but to the changing emotions of its citizens. The results are patterns in the sand at the city’s center, which are simultaneously beautiful, transient, and enigmatic. [See more]

City #15: Otagani (Ton G)

The city walls of Otagani are made up of a lightweight nylon-like material that allows the city to inflate and deflate like the collective breath of its citizens. When the city is deflated, all you can see is what is directly in front of you, alone in a chamber of fabric. But during times of celebration, you can see the entire population at once. The walls glow with trembling color, while the city slowly rises, only to be restrained by the thousands of ropes that keep the city from escaping into the sky. [See more]

Landmark #1: Elamai (Amelia R)

Elamai is a prehistoric landmark located on a small stone mound surrounded by ocean. Archaeologists believe that this stone monument was erected as early as 3000 BC, long before modern tools were available for constructing something of that scale and complexity. Many travel weeks or months to find this elusive monolith. It is said if you lay on the side of the island, directly beneath the colossal circular lens, you become embraced by the rays of the sun, and become hypnotized. As the sun sets, the sky opens up to an immaculate, endless darkness- the type of darkness that makes you want to dive further and further into its abyss. Sleep is unnecessary on this island until the glow of dawn breaks the enchantment. [See more]

City #16: Jirameas (Jason M)

Jirameas is a city balanced upon a mountain peak. There are no native Jirameas- all citizens are ambassadors from other cities from around the globe. Throughout the day they ponder all the ills that plague the world- whether disease, poverty, corruption, or environmental abuse. Each ailment is represented by a boulder on one side of the gigantic scale, opposite the inhabited side of the city. When a global issue is solved, a boulder is removed. When a global issue arises, a boulder is added. Needless to say, if there are too many or too few, balance will be broken and the city will plummet to its end. On one hand, this is representative of the citizens' acceptance that the world is not perfect. However, it also represents that, although the world is flawed, it does not mean they should not strive for perfection. [See more]

City #17: Apadayan (Amanda Y)

Apadayan is a city constantly being built. Long ago, when the city was first constructed, its citizens noticed that the buildings were slowly sinking into the ground. In a panicked response, they built their buildings higher and higher to account for the height lost to the earth. However, as more materials were added to their city, the faster they sank. So the city's engineers found a way to convert the friction caused by the sinking city into energy for more effective construction. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for Apadayan's construction to accelerate at the same rate as the city itself. Today, it is said that the rate is so fast that you can look out at the horizon and feel yourself setting with the sun. [See more]

System #6: Vumaaste (Avanti M)

Vumaaste refers to a local tradition of creating kite-like devices made up of weightless wooden discs attached to countless strands of colorful thread. The ritual involves collecting a strand of thread from each member of a community, tying them together, and letting the weightless disc carry the collective braid to wherever the wind takes it. The final destination may vary. Some strands never stop, but continue to been seen flying through the clouds. Another distant village may happen upon a strand, add to it, and let it continue on its journey. Or a passing traveler may stumble upon a landscape strewn with the colors of a people. [See more]

Landmark #2: Nanichai (Christian P)

Nanichai is a natural wonder made up of two mountains. At any moment, a colossal wind blows from the east, sending the dust from one mountain to the other. For years, this continues until the eastern mountain is no more, leaving its sister mountain vulnerable to the wind- so the process reverses. Some think of Nanichai as one mountain. This would make Nanichai simultaneously growing and decaying, dying and reborn. Nanichai defies logic as it is simultaneously its own parent and child, a moving mountain. [See more]

City #18 Eleses (Jesse L)

The city of Eleses has been described as a giant pipe organ. Wind enters through the large openings at the base of the city and passes through the intricate inner-workings of the city. In Eleses, whenever a door is opened or closed the resulting pitch changes. During the day, when citizens are out and about, you can hear an infinitely complex melody radiating from the city's peak. Musicians travel to Eleses to become inspired. Mathematicians travel to Eleses in an effort to find a logical pattern amidst the citizens' chaotic song of daily life. At night, there is a low hum exhaled from the pipes, like a concerted sigh from a hard day's work. [See more]

City #19: Haestique (Stephanie Q)

The odds of all the citizens of Haestique closing their eyes at the same time are very slim. However, on the rare occasion it does happen, the landscape of Haestique changes the moment before their eyes re-open. Citizens say, in that moment, there is a sensation of weightlessness immediately followed by a rush of blood to their head. Like waking up after a shared dream, the citizens slowly collect the facts of their new reality. Because all eyes are closed, nobody really knows what exactly occurs during the event. However, there was one instance where a distant passerby claimed to see a cloud of blue dust envelop the city. Though, when he went to rub his eyes, he found himself somewhere else entirely. [See more]

System #7: Nabeck (Becky T)

Nabeck is a collection of geological curiosities made up of variably-occurring, crystal-like rock formations, typically known to materialize at the entrance of cities and large bodies of water. It is said that if you look closely at a city through the lens of a Nabeck formation, you will not see buildings or people, but vibrant colors and light- the essence of the city. Viewing a body of water through a Nabeck formation is another experience entirely, a thrilling scene. The immeasurable size and weight of the water is presented all at once to the viewer, who quickly becomes overtaken by such inconceivable scale. At this moment, you have no choice but to let the vastness of the sea swallow you whole, as your thoughts dissolve into the tides. [See more]

City #20: Frandoo (Brandon F)

Frandoo is a nomadic, seafaring city that moves from iceberg to iceberg in the northern seas. The buildings of Frandoo are outfitted with temporary paint that is absorbed into the icy floor once a settlement expires. A passing navigator would never see evidence of the roaming city as their field of vision is limited to the water's surface. Only the marine wildlife- the whales, the seals, the fish- can enjoy the colorful pathway of Frandoo's history. [See more]

Landmark #3: Seloung (Sou L)

The Seloung Forest is named after its very prominent inhabitant, the Seloung Tree. Standing at nearly 400 feet, the Seloung Tree is the largest tree in the world. When it rains, the tree pulls water into its trunk, which slowly expands and contracts. The Seloung Tree has a special flower that only blossoms the night after a storm. The petals of these flowers glow so bright, it turns night into day. Shortly after, the trunk of the Seloung Tree contracts and its branches grow longer, sheltering the rest of the forest with its glowing arms. [See more]

City #21: Ollena (Allen F)

The tall conical buildings of Ollena are covered by a thin layer of flowing, semitransparent fabric. It is unknown why, but you are lighter in Ollena. You can jump higher, you can run faster and farther without fatigue. You fall more slowly. Some say it is the fabric that pulls you near to it, because if you jump high enough, you can get drawn into the fabric's gravity. Those lucky enough to experience this float along Ollena's moving blanket and feel its interior, which is said to feel more like liquid than cloth, until they gently float down to the city floor below. [See more]

City #22: Sellumine (Michelle S)

The citizens of Sellumine constructed a spherical device that hovers above their city, absorbing all the impurities in the surrounding air. The collected impurities are compressed into clear, crystal-like formations, which slowly accumulate through the center of the city. The buildings, which are stacked vertically, slowly spin, powered by the collected material. It has been observed that it is not solely material pollution that powers Sellumine, but mental and spiritual pollution as well. The stress of an over-worked citizen gets recycled back into the city. A lie gets converted into pure energy. Destructive forces in a war overseas eventually are converted into creative forces in Sellumine. [See more]

City #23: Aparthi (Keith P)

Atop the tall towers of Aparthi lie giant circuits that transmit electric currents without wires. Webs of lightning jump from tower to tower and accumulate rather than dissipate with each hop. In this way, the energy produced by one tower will most benefit the tower farthest from it. The inertia of the currents runs parallel to the temperaments of the citizens in each tower. A smile may result in riotous laughter a mile away. A restrained rebuttal may become a confrontation. What almost happens in one area may actually happen on the other side of town. [See more]

City #24: Sheeshani (Stephanie S)

The floating city of Sheeshani is guided by its slowly-turning kaleidoscopic eye. It is through this eye that the citizens of Sheeshani are able to find places with hidden beauty. If you have the opportunity to view a landscape through the lens of Sheeshani, you will see not one, but thousands of images, each of which exhibit a unique perspective of that landscape. One image is through the eye of the past, another through the eye of the future. One is from the perspective of a bird, another a sea turtle, a tree, an ant. One is through the eyes of someone close to death; another is through the eyes of someone just born. [See more]

Landmark #4: Moneley (Emily G)

Only recently discovered, Moneley is a cave hidden beneath a limestone cliff, known for its unique geological characteristics. Due to its very rare combination of minerals and fickle climate conditions, Moneley is not the standard limestone color, but displays the entire spectrum of colors, which are expressed in the many layers of its limestone columns. What perplexes speleologists is that the colors of the formations tend to create patterns that are not logical, but aesthetically pleasing like a painting- almost as if the cave was expressing itself. Or, it may be that Moneley is not animated at all- just an instrument through which wind and time play their song. [See more]

City #25: Vallahine (Harlan L)

Vallahine is a city that reflects itself across a deep crevasse. The reflection, curiously enough, is about two hours ahead in time. However, due to a heavy fog, the citizens of Vallahine cannot take advantage of this phenomenon- nor can they confirm or deny the specter is actually a reflection of their city. Skeptical citizens challenge the theory by attempting to deliberately resist falling into the fate presented by the city’s counterpart. However, at the moment of truth, things somehow always fall into place without warning, like the transition between dream and awakening. There is also the theory that Vallahine is in fact the reflection of the true city, an echo. [See more]

System #8: Oquimi (Monique K)

Once thought to be a myth, the spectacle known as Oquimi has been observed only a handful of times by unconfirmed sources. Emerging from a quiet patch of water in the middle of the ocean, a single column of water shoots directly up into the sky. Surging past the clouds, the water evaporates once it reaches the stratosphere. Inside the column is a hollow eye- completely silent. You look down and see the overbearing void, reaching to the bottom of the ocean floor. You look up and the heat from the earth pushes you to the infinite blue. [See more]

System #9: Mitillae (Nilam P)

Mitillae refers to the tradition of clothing autumn trees with colored earth. As the season grows colder, the trees shed their leaves, which produce trails of color behind each stem. Like a visual orchestra, a single leaf begins its solo with an undivided green trail. Eventually, the solo becomes a duet as a second leaf joins, with red interweaving with the green. As the tempo increases, the chorus joins in with violets, yellows, oranges, and blues. Soon there is an absence of key or tone until a violent crescendo is reached. At this point all leaves have fallen to the ground, and just a resonance of their color hovers in the air. Only a single leaf remains on the tree, tasked to complete the number. With sorrow and courage, the final leaf dances through the seasons until autumn is reborn and another solitary leaf begins an encore performance. [See more]

City #26: Pennalie (Julian H)

Pennalie is a city made up of concentric circles that grow in diameter and depth, like a fallen tree that continues to grow. However, unlike a tree, which has a clear top and bottom, Pennalie has two identical ends that continue to grow and pioneer new territory. Most of the citizens migrate to one of the ends of the city as that is where the more exciting opportunities lie. Over time, the two ends of the city will become too far removed from each other to dependably communicate. However, the citizens find this to be advantageous since they see it as living out two potential futures- a fork in the road. Because of this, decisions are easy in Pennalie. Doubt of a particular decision is replaced by comfort that the other option was picked by their counterpart. The wrong decision will be balanced by the right one. A "yes" will counteract a "no". Yet, the curious thing about Pennalie is that, so far, both ends are completely identical. [See more]

City #27: Loorukar (Suruchi D)

Loorukar is a city located above a massive geyser which intermittently catapults a stream of water through the base of the city. This base is a hollowed-out shell lined with numerous rows of turbines which power the city. It has been observed that when the stream reaches its peak, the weightlessness of the suspended water is channeled to those in the city. Like at the peak of a roller coaster, your stomach sinks- a free-fall without falling. [See more]

Landmark #5: Chymellu (Michelle H)

Chymellu Lake is peculiar body of water that has four surfaces. The topmost surface is just like any other, but swim a little further down and you will break the second surface. Immediately as you break this surface you fall into the third surface since there is no water between the second and third. Hold your breath again and swim to the fourth surface. As you break this surface, something splendid happens. You breathe as though there is no water, but you continue to swim as if there were- two actions that are familiar when separate, but fantastic when combined. [See more]

City #7, Visit #1: Esofou

While visiting Esofou at night, you see the buildings stretch their legs and slowly bend backwards towards each other, creating a giant chamber which shrouds the city. As you wake, your house slowly bends back into its normal form, like a petal of a flower. If you happen to look out your window during this time, it is as though the sky is waking up with you- moving upwards from dark to light. [See more]

City #28: Ningrah (Kerning H)

Touch the walls of Ningrah and you will feel the tough yet delicate surface of porcelain. Although this may seem like a precarious structural decision, this material is not exactly what it seems to be. During hail storms, the surface of Ningrah's walls momentarily shatter then immediately turn to liquid. What was once a stationary city transforms into a slow-moving wave in a vacant ocean. As the storm subsides, Ningrah re-solidifies. As a result, the city takes on the semblance of a wave, frozen in time. [See more]

City #3, Visit #1: Zodsti

When you visit Zodsti, city of dares, and see the construction of new buildings, you will notice that citizens assemble four structures at a time. The first three structures are built to meticulous specification, while the fourth structure is built to collapse. Citizens reason that this is to understand the limits of their materials and design. But some admit that there is a certain lure to the destruction of something so large, and capturing a glimpse of something that, for a moment, should not have existed. [See more]

System #10: Teelisira (Liis P)

If you stare at something long enough, it will change color. Teelisira is the underlying complexion of anything you can observe. However, the Teelisira in some objects are easier to observe than others. For example, a chair and the tree it was cut from have the same Teelisira, but it is much more difficult to observe the chair's Teelisira than the tree's. Also consider a photograph of that chair. Strangely, you can more quickly observe the chair's Teelisira through a photograph than with your bare eyes; but this is not the case with a photograph of a tree. Painters are particularly interested in understanding Teelisara. They practice layering their paint, sometimes ten, twenty, or thirty layers for a single painting. Each layer obscures or erases the previous layer, but does not eliminate the presence of that layer. It is in this way, Teelisira may be considered the underlying memory in any object- changing colors as you peel away the layers. [See more]

System #5, Visit #1: Lyscria

Although commonly associated with the performing arts, Lyscria can be produced in the more passive arts. A painter uses brilliant reds and bright yellows in quick strokes of the brush to produce sounds that snap and ripple. Sprinkled blues and violets produce chimes that break as they dry. Black ink is a notably challenging medium to produce sound. Broad, unbroken strokes with generous amounts of water sometimes create a black hum that grows deeper as the ink dries and ages. Place your ear against an ancient scroll with such marks and you can still hear remnants of dark movements. [See more]

City #29: Gililu (Lili G)

The flattened buildings of Gililu actively burrow and emerge from the ground, climb above and retreat below their neighbors. Denizens control their dwellings' movements by running back-and-forth and around their soft clay floors, constantly tipping, sliding, and spinning into a new position. The clay roofs contain marks and dents, traces of the perpetual collisions. In this way, the interior of a building documents the movements of the individual, while the exterior records the movements of the collective. [See more]

City #10, Visit #1: Kashkraa

At dawn, the great ball of energy that hovers over Kashkraa turns solid- a state in which it can absorb the sun's rays. The tall, metallic fence that covers the city turns translucent and loses its own form, conceding to the spherical shape of the massive marble beneath and the oblong buildings below. The ball then slowly rises toward the heat of the sun, gradually pulling the semitransparent sheet from the buildings' frames. Soon the ghost-like figure disappears from sight, only to fall back down as dusk approaches. In Kashkraa, citizens worship the six deities of their suns: the sun that nourishes, the sun that renews, the absent sun, the mercurial sun, the constant sun, and the sun that never sets. [See more]

Landmark #6: Ethamenoff (Steffen H)

The man-made Ethamenoff can be found floating in the skies above cities, forests, and ocean, collecting audio and visual data. The scope in which Ethamenoff collects data is a very small one-cubic-meter area that constantly changes as the Ethamenoff drifts along its winding path. As it collects input, Ethamenoff simultaneously translates the data and emits synthetic sounds that vibrate, beep, oscillate, and buzz. When above cities, hoards of urbanites chase Ethamenoff, frantically trying to be within its field of vision to hear the automaton's judgment of them, only to be disappointed with static noise. The casual wanderer to happen upon Ethamenoff along an empty trail may choose to receive its evaluation. Take caution, however, as it is said the melody will become fixed in the recipient's mind for weeks, for Ethamenoff is less a translator and more an echo or mirror of its chosen subject. [See more]

System #4, Visit #1: Tiah-ahi

Spectacles of Tiah-ahi are most frequently observed in the high altitude regions. Here, when mariners cannot navigate through a midnight storm, they pray for Tiah-ahi. When it occurs, the horizon bends and your perceived landscape transforms. The dark blues and blacks that dominate the northern seas at night, like a switch, invert. Land masses in all four directions are seen clearly as if night turned to day and the earth turned flat. If you stare long enough, you can point out any city that comes to mind- even the hidden ones. Beware however that your understanding of distance and therefore time is now false. Many captains have led their ships to an end chasing the specter of a city that passed centuries ago. [See more]

City #30: Llynsor (Roslyn L)

The materials used to build the towers of Llynsor are so dense, the city has acquired its own orbiting satellite which accumulates debris from its surrounding suburbs. The junior moon started from clusters of inconspicuous objects that started to dance along the streets of Llynsor. A paper bag took company with the leg of a chair, joined by a section of a fence and a few dishes. Soon, the eclectic ensemble started to lift off the floor, following a path that circumscribed the city. Children would jump up to graze the bottom of the mass as it floated by. Over time, the amalgamation of objects became so massive it acquired a spherical body and its own gravitational pull. Each day, Llynsor's moon becomes larger and attracts larger objects. Young daredevils jump from tall buildings to gamble whether or not they will be caught by the moon's pull. Some citizens have migrated to the moon's surface, knowing that one day, it too will consume Llynsor. [See more]

System #2, Visit #1: Vinnsa

As you fall into the green pools of the Vinnsa Transit Authority (VTA), you are recommended to not have a destination in mind since, almost certainly, you will be disappointed if you do. The VTA connects hundreds of thousands of cities, so the odds that your target destination aligns with it are slim. Do not use the VTA on a whim and do not use the VTA in response to trauma. Those who focus on nothing other than the act of falling are said to experience the best results. The sick or elderly, who do not fear death, fall into the pools knowing the water may turn black, indicating the VTA has chosen their final destination. [See more]

System #11: Niaoutara (Mariana B)

Niaoutara is the energy that flows in and out of the home. At the foundation of any household, a tunnel is created that drives straight down through the earth, leading to a massive underground reservoir. If you move from your home, it is said that the energy in the walls, the appliances, and the furniture escapes through the floorboards and finds its way to a new home. The demolition of a home creates a fissure in the Niaoutara system, in which the energy from breach leaks into the atmosphere. Constructing a home with your hands leaves a special kind of energy that does not move, but rests in the wood and nails. [See more]

City #31: Roobeha (Deb O)

Two watchtowers overlook the icy landscape that surrounds Roobeha, the underground city of the far north. Searchlights highlight the entrances to the buildings of Roobeha- long cylindrical columns that extend miles below ground. There are no ladders or ropes that aid your descent as you jump into the underground conduits. Instead, pockets of water slow your fall, sometimes tens, sometimes hundreds of feet below. These pockets of water, impossibly held static by powerful gravitational forces, slowly move up and down the long columns of Roobeha. Visitors be warned, the floating pockets of water are also the only way out of Roobeha. You must wade on the surface of the water until it slowly floats to the top where you have just moments to grab the apex before falling back down. This process only becomes more challenging as the citizens grow their city, digging their buildings deeper and deeper, causing the pockets of water to propel more rapidly. [See more]

System #1, Visit #1: Yirooa

Climb atop a weather vane amidst the clouds that make up the Yirooa Communication Network, or "The Roo", and you may be entertained for hours. Listen as the microscopic devices whiz by your ears. Each tiny device carries a little packet of data- a slice of a syllable of a sound, a partial pixel of a picture, a fraction of a frame of a film. An orchestra of everything consumed by everyone plays scores milliseconds long. Careful not to exhale too deeply or your breadth will disarrange the tiny devices, causing a picture to become a sound, or a sound to dissolve into color. [See more]

City #9, Visit #1: Lajhir

The mechanical arm at the center of Lajhir continues to move objects between its two mountains. Citizens and visitors are forbidden to add their possessions or refuse to the moving piles. However, at night, footsteps can be heard along the alleyways and back streets of Lajhir- hoodlums or derelicts no doubt, or perhaps fleeting apparitions or midnight guardians. Harsh whispers are heard after the occasional shatter of a clay pot that breaks the monotony of the rusty creaks emanating from the giant mechanical arm invariably moving back and forth. In the morning, inside the mountains, unknown objects are seen sitting on top of piles of dust- remnants of the objects from the day before. Citizens assume no crime or malevolence. Even if you wake up to find a treasure missing from your home, there is an understanding in Lajhir that their twin peaks give as much as they take. Your treasure will find its way back to you in a form only known by whatever controls the mechanical arm at the center of city. [See more]

System #12: Viemny (Mike P)

All cities have a reflection. Some reflect a past version, some reflect an ideal version. Viemny is the reflection all cities have. Like an invisible lake, Viemny mirrors every street, every citizen, every movement. It also mirrors time, thought, and memory. At any particular moment, Viemny is simultaneously a city's past, present, and future- empty and full. Although it is not possible, if you were to visit your city's Viemny, it will be visually foreign to you, but will feel strangely familiar- perhaps from another lifetime, perhaps as someone else. [See more]

City #32: Rameas (Maria F)

The buildings of Rameas lay dormant below ground as citizens go about their daily business in the cool, calm subterranean space. Pockets of light, caused by curious prospectors and diggers above, shine down on Rameas in long columns. However, when the cold metal of a shovel hits the roof of a building in a particular way, a shock is sent down through the nerves that connect all of Rameas. Diggers above hear a deep rumble. Citizens below feel a twitch. The buildings tremble, jerk, and vault toward the surface above. As quickly as the buildings stretch above ground in a dazzling display, they shrink back to their original form, leaving a cloud of colorful dust in its place. Dazed and confused, the prospectors and diggers find their shovels and begin again, hoping to catch a longer glimpse next time. [See more]

System #3, Visit #1: Rhyia

Rhyia is the symbolic system used for communicating the ambiguous, the concealed, and the impermanent. Certain things become and unbecome so quickly, the immutability of text or photographs cannot achieve the level of representation Rhyia can. Consider a fallen oak tree in a humid environment- both a dead organism and a living system, transforming itself into something else every second. The trunk acts as a coffin as the woody innards decay and decompose, while the surface draws attention to the incubator giving life to young moss and other plant life. The clear and colorful rectangles of Rhyia can show the different layers of a subject at any and all possible stages of being. You may read the rectangles top-to-bottom, left-to-right, diagonally, or in reverse. The Rhyia system is not linear, but cyclical and unstable. Rhyia mimics nature. If Rhyia were a book, it would have no beginning or end, pages will be missing, and some pages duplicated. [See more]

City #33: Rhögneer (Göran S)

Atop the towering city of Rhögneer lies a granite globe. Every so often citizens would manually turn the massive globe with their combined effort. At the center of Rhögneer is an observatory equipped with an extremely powerful telescope which is not used to map the stars, but to map the relationships of earthly things- how the distance between trees are correlated to the migration patterns of birds or how cloud formations relate to the average heights of skyscrapers. Data is printed out on long pieces of colored tape that drape down below the city. One vertical length of tape represents one year. The tape becomes tangled in a way that requires further observation. Why do years that are multiples of four like to clump with years that are multiples of seven? Why do years that have great natural disasters tend to remain separate and undeviated? Why does the fabric of some years break immediately, while some remain indestructible? [See more]

City #34: Kojani (Jonathan B)

Kojani is a city that is the same from near as from far. If you peer into any building, the interior will mimic the cityscape that you observed from afar. Tiny sounds of sirens and car horns fill the tiny spaces within closets and cabinets. If you meet a citizen of Kojani, your first impressions will always match your lasting impressions even after years of acquaintance. And citizens welcome all visitors as their own since they believe that all the world is Kojani and all are its citizens. [See more]

City #35: Hammansa (Adam S)

Hammannsa is a city made up of numerous triangular buildings constructed with highly reflective glass. As you walk down the streets of Hammannsa, you notice your visage repeated over the buildings' many surfaces. Every movement, every tilt of your head, is witnessed tens, perhaps hundreds of times in different angles, through different eyes. Citizens claim the purpose for this is to increase vigilance and drastically reduce crime, to which they have succeeded. But there are other unmentioned side effects. Every action in Hammannsa is scrutized by its many angles and views, as in an amphitheater, where every sneer, smile, or sneeze has an audience. A woman's hair blowing in the wind, that momentarily achieves a perfect form, is captured by the infinite eyes of Hammannsa. [See more]

System #13: Mandioas (Adam G)

All cities have a birth. Most emerge from the ocean floor- often catapulting many miles to the surface. The beginning of any city that is born in this way has a unique signature, a Mandioas. This signature is in the form of a massive wave- some that curl, twist, and bend, some that foam, steam, and swell. But this wave is not entirely ephemeral. Like a fingerprint or footprint, a city's Mandioas acts as a lasting unique identifier. Make ripples in a city's reservoir or a resident's bath and it will mimic the city's Mandioas. If you look carefully, this is also true with when you stir your coffee. It also explains why you feel that the rain falls a certain way on your city. (continues...) [See more]

System #13: Mandioas (cont)

(...continued from previous) It is important to note that when cities merge, divide, grow, and fall, their Mandioas remain the same. Most modern cities share a Mandioas with others. Some cities have tens or even hundreds of Mandioas. Some Mandioas dance in vacant lakes, the only evidence of hidden cities. [See more]

Landmark #7: Crillomeno (Lori M)

Crillomeno is a prehistoric monument comprised of hundreds of stone columns and is one of the most famous sites in the world. The columns are arranged so wind that blows through the site is forced into small cyclones that divide, combine, and leap between groups of columns. Visitors travel thousands of miles to sit within a family of Crillomeno's pillars. The miniature windstorms favor those who come alone and those who have something to share with Crillomeno- secrets you could not find courage to say, gifts you could not give to someone who passed away, memories you fear are fading. Crillomeno acknowledges your offering as the many bodies of wind slowly merge into one whirlwind that surrounds you. In exchange, you receive whispers which you will very likely not be able to discern. Crillomeno's purpose is not to enlighten or guide, but to absorb an encumbrance. Perhaps the whispers you hear are the secrets and confessions that even Crillomeno could not carry. [See more]

City #36: Taslura (Lauren T)

The citizens of Taslura stretch steel to its absolute limits to make their massive buildings seem weightless. Standing still, it seems as if the structures are moving with your eyes as you follow their curves. Be careful not to become too disoriented since even grazing a wall creates a vibration that compounds as it traverses the surface's length and height. Citizens also have the tradition of transcribing their history as etchings along the steel walls, which curve and fold back onto themselves. It is in this way Taslura has its own memory- a timeline of steel that folds back onto itself, with unprompted vibrations, just as a certain song or scent can suddenly send you back years, hidden in the grooves of your mind. [See more]

City #37: Fuevenor (Victoria L)

One evening, the city of Fuevenor began to evaporate. The buildings grew restless. The central fountain could no longer hold down its bath. As the citizens fell asleep, they attached themselves to their most vivid dreams. Fuevenor's history, memories, and characters all began to evaporate. Historians explain this happens to all cities, but on a different scale. Some cities stand for millennia, but some exist with great intensity, growing at exceptional rates with nothing to hold them down. [See more]

City #38: Nadillia (Lucinda W)

The diaphanous walls of Nadillia silently combine, break, and recombine. There are no doors- just gently walk through a building's filmy casing. In preparation for the city's weekly theatrical performances, stagehands will gently blow in all directions, slowly expanding the auditorium which consumes the surrounding rooms. The performers wield a particular talent to swiftly manipulate the colors that swirl along the walls. They begin by constructing the setting and forging the characters with their fingers, but then allow the subtle maneuvers of Nadillia to play out the scene until the walls explode into air with a muted crescendo. The audience chooses not to applaud since they might miss the magnificent silence. [See more]

System #14: Rhizzather (Heather P)

Rhizzather refers to the natural law that all city births come in pairs. That is not to say that the pair of sprouted cities are identical or contiguous. The pair may share nothing in common or may exist on different continents. However, the pair of cities share the same ingredients. The urban planners share the same blueprints. The stone is extracted from the same quarries. The underground construction workers share the same sleeping quarters. However, the final step in the city assembly process is executed by pyrotechnicians. A self-contained and self-sustained explosion adds the right amount of variability to send each city on its own path and develop its own properties. The resulting cities are unaware of the identity of their sibling. Immigration thrives on this fact alone in that the restless know there exists a place that is both native and estranged. [See more]

City #39: Bremnali (Melani W)

You can find Bremnali on a tiny strip of land four meters wide. The houses grow along an invisible plane like vines along the side of a building. There are no roads or walkways in Bremnali. Instead, you must walk through each building between your origin and destination, whether it is a home, grocery store, or movie theater. However, due to the citizens' rather hospitable dispositions, you will rarely make it to your destination. On your way to the grocery store, citizens will insist you stay for dinner. On your way to the movie theater, you will get caught up in a household's movie night. As you leave to the next city, the elderly will reminisce over all the exotic places they visited before they arrived at Bremnali. [See more]

City #40: Ko-Lenala (Angie H)

When you first enter the sacred city of Ko-Lenala, you would either think it is an ancient city of ruins or a city under construction. Both hypotheses are partially true. Citizens scour the globe for statues of deities that were once worshipped. Fleets of ships transport massive columns that once supported ancient temples. As you walk through Ko-Lenala, you cannot help but feel compassion for the Gods and Goddesses of the Old World. They no longer command the same power they once did, but still, they seem content beside the benches and fountains of Ko-Lenala. Perhaps they no longer feel burdened by their cosmic responsibilities or maybe they finally get to mingle with their peers and admire their creations in Ko-Lenala, the afterlife for the Gods. [See more]

Landmark #8: Rennanneza (Joanne H)

Deep inside the caves of Moneley (Landmark #4), lies the monolith known as Rennanneza. Often referred to as the "Heart of Moneley", the single block of stone silently beats with light, rhythmically illuminating the colorful walls of Moneley. It is said that the proper way to observe the Moneley caves is to stare blankly at the pulsing glow radiating from Rennanneza until it dissolves into its surroundings. At this point, you may continue through the rest of the caves with the flicker of Rennanneza still imprinted in your field of vision and enjoy the spectrum of colors that take on the illusion of movement. [See more]

City #41: Tulloya (Luke T)

Half of the buildings in Tulloya are below ground and half are upside-down. The citizens of Tulloya construct buildings that weave in and out of the ground. It may be counterintuitive, but new buildings are not simply added to the leading end of the city. Rather, new homes are added to the beginning of the city sequence and all proceeding buildings are shifted forward. In this way, the orientation of your house is cyclical like the seasons- some months you spend underground, some you spend diagonally or upside-down. The young trendsetting citizens are conflicted about which part of the city they should live in. On one hand, the leading end of the city sees the newest landscapes and views, but contains the oldest structures. And on the other side, the buildings are brand new, but are destined to follow a path already travelled. [See more]

Landmark #9: Yetensla (Casey L)

Yetensla is a system of mountains whose geographies slowly shift. Nomadic tribes familiar with Yetensla say the mountains speak to each other through moans and creaks. They clash, drift apart, and embrace at a time scale invisible to the human observer. And we are invisible to them as we live entire lifetimes in what seems like a few seconds. The only near interaction is the occasional appearance of a city that quickly crumbles the moment before a Yetensla mountain tries to touch it. [See more]

System #15: Tessoti (Ted S)

Tessoti refers to the subculture of artists and artisans who add color to mountains and other rock formations. Typically carried out by hundreds of individuals at a time, colored pigments are pressed, chiseled, and hammered into solid rock. There is no statement that comes with this practice and there are no evident profits or losses to the participants, who quickly disband after a work is completed. Entire landscapes have been transformed from desolate canyons and valleys to impressionistic artworks of massive scale. And to the occasional passerby, the passage of time is accentuated by the carefully constructed color composition that distorts how sunlight and shadow imply movement. [See more]

City #42: Warporasi (Swarm M)

Warporasi is a megalopolis of cities contained within cities. As you walk on the surface near the entrance of the city, you may notice a number of doorknobs curiously placed on incompatible objects such as trash cans, windows, and trees. Turn a knob and it will probably just fall to the ground. However, some may lead to one of Warporasi's vast inner cities- each with its own unique set of properties. However, to be clear, the seemingly infinite numbers of inner cities of Warporasi are indeed just one city. Just like one child can imagine an infinite amount of inner worlds, the citizens of Warporasi make up just one city that has the ability to escape inside itself. [See more]

City #43: Yennetilbi (Lynette B)

The city of Yennetilbi periodically becomes swallowed by an enormous wave for a short period of time, loosely coinciding with a lunar eclipse. The citizens celebrate this occasion by painting the exterior of the spherical city with invisible paint that activates upon contact with salt water. So when swallowed by the sea, the city of Yennetilbi glows with color, as the moon's glow becomes swallowed by the Earth. From a distance, it is as if, after months of toil, the moon escapes to Earth for a momentary respite in the city of Yennetilbi. [See more]

City #44: Orynnaci (Catherine Y)

If you walk through the city of Orynnaci, the buildings are tall, bare, and ordinary. However, if you stare at a building, look away, then look back again, the building may change. Or sometimes, a building can disappear, or merge with another one. As a tourist, you may begin to recognize past cities you have visited if you stare long enough. Some buildings lose their form entirely. Walk down Main Street and you will see most citizens standing still with their head tilted back, tracing shapes with an outstretched arm. On the face of city hall, three words are inscribed in Latin, loosely translating to "Imagination, Perception, Metaphor". [See more]

City #45: Waiiweh (Kawehi W)

In Waiiweh, the cars speed and the pedestrians sprint. The buildings are thin and built in repeating sets. As you look out of the window of a moving vehicle, the buildings fly by exactly in rhythm to the music playing on the radio. Groups of runners pace along the bay in perfect stride, with their heads turned and their headphones on. In Waiiweh, the disc jockey is king, who determines the pace of movement in the dynamic city. Each radio station is targeted to specific modes of transportation and mood. For the joyous, the tempo is fast. For the restless, tunes are syncopated. For the pensive, there is a station for ambient noise- although, simply listening to the rhythm of a voice or the beats of footsteps would also suffice. [See more]

City #46: Raashebiza (Sarah B)

The city of Raashebiza is divided into three levels representing, from bottom to top: structure, paradox, and transformation. At any point in time, the territory that each level oversees may expand or shrink, depending on the current needs of the city. Structure is emphasized in times of conflict. And transformation takes over in times of healing. Paradox emerges when there is no war, natural disaster, or political unrest- when citizens watch musicals in lieu of political debates and when fluctuations in philosophy are of more concern than fluctuations in currency. But eventually, an overabundance of contradiction and ambiguity naturally leads to a need for structure, and so the cycle continues. It is in this way, every citizen of Raashebiza must wear three hats- one of the sciences, one of the arts, and one of faith. [See more]

Landmark #10: Myphmak (Kym P)

The fogs of Myphmak have the expected vaporous consistency of a cloud but the unexpected disposition of a solid. When you walk through the low-hanging fogs, your body will cut through it like a knife through butter. You can watch as children roll balls of vapor and throw them at each other, silently shattering on impact. Sculptors construct massive weightless statues- some nearly thirty stories high- that you can lift up with a single finger. However there is a danger of Myphmak shrinking over time, since many would take a small piece cloud as a keepsake- for who would not want to have their very own cloud hidden in their pocket or floating above their bed? [See more]

City #47: Ataronobi (Oren T)

The city of Ataronobi has been carved out of the stone mountain of Memasthi. The edge of the city, where Ataronobi meets Memasthi, advances and recedes. Like a tree line, the space where city becomes mountain is a gradual transition. Those who live at the edge of the city become more lethargic, often spending entire days staring out into the sky. There have been tales of citizens falling asleep for years near the edge, and stories of boulders becoming animated, rolling toward the city, becoming statues and columns. [See more]

City #48: Viantiah (Gianna W)

When you are talking with someone in the city of Viantiah, be sure to remain focused, because if you lose attention, you may become transfixed on one of Viantiah's seemingly mundane features. The grains of wood on the table begin to quiver. The stain on the wall takes the form of a mouth that begins to mutter. The flame leaves the candle and floats toward the sky. Like one giant Rohrschach Test, Viantiah begs you to answer the question, what do you see? [See more]

City #49: Ganonathu (Jonathan L)

One day, the pieces that make up Ganonathu started to form letters and numbers. It started with a "J", followed by an "L", then an "8". After a number of years, buildings started to form words, such as "and", "if", and "you". Decades went by and questions started to appear- "Where is my hat?", "How many cakes?” Citizens tell you to not think too much into it. Given enough time, any city will begin to ask questions, but it will be mostly nonsense. Most of the fuss comes when people start answering those questions earnestly. And who knows what pandemonium would ensue when Ganonathu accidently asks, "May I excuse myself?" [See more]

City #22, Visit #1: Sellumine

Have stress? Have anxiety? Have excess thoughts beclouding your frame of mind? You are encouraged to visit Sellumine. Sit on a bench and stare at the sphere that hovers atop city hall. Focus on what is stirring your mind. Ask yes or no questions, one by one- go down your long list. Sellumine will answer curtly and certainly, "yes", "no", "no", "yes", and so on. Sellumine's goal is to turn your mental burdens into physical actions- potential energy into kinetic energy. Of course, this is not a free service- Sellumine takes a small commission, since over eighty percent of Sellumine is powered by this process. And to Sellumine's benefit, this is quite the abundant source of renewable energy. [See more]

City #6, Visit #1: Uaeinn

The megalopolis known as Uaeinn is made up of numerous nearly-indistinguishable cities. Each sub-city within Uaeinn is very careful to mimic the appearance of its neighbors. Cities would reach impossible heights as construction workers rush around the clock to match the output of their bordering cities. There was one time a flimsy pillar or a shaky support of a city that broke, and that city crumbled to dust. With very little hesitation its adjacent cities followed with controlled explosions, supervised fires, and surgically removed support beams--a domino effect of destruction, both accidental and intentional. It was chaos in the name of safety and order. Over the years, the cities reached even greater heights, rebuilding with more care, for wouldn't you be more prudent when you know your inadvertent errors would be meticulously emulated? [See more]

City #50: Yoothnia (Cynthia K)

The twists and turns of the streets may be confusing at first as you make your way up the towering vertical city of Yoothnia. Sometimes you need to travel down to travel up, or make a few lefts to turn right. Sometimes it may take hours--perhaps days--to get to your destination. However, the urban planners insist the layout is deliberate, and the streets have been meticulously laid out. They explain that their calculations do not prioritize the shortest distance, the fewest transfers, or the easiest slopes. Instead, they aim to maximize the number of unique people you would bump into during your daily commute. To boost a healthy amount of collaboration and innovation in their city, they ensure lawyers pass by poets, doctors pass by politicians, and scientists pass by priests. Coffee shops are the size of stadiums, filled with eclectic conversations. Parks, void of benches, are filled with pairs of chairs facing each other. And the transit authority, the least funded of the city's public services, is fraught with traffic, repairs, and delays, as commuters hold debates and share stories to pass the time. [See more]

System #16: Hzoila (Lei Z)

When you pull apart something that was meant to be indivisible, there arises the possibility of creating small cracks in the tempo of time, called Hzoila. For example, consider the adolescent activity of skipping rocks against a wall. A child would throw a rock against a brick wall as hard as he could. If it breaks, there is a chance that time can skip a second or two backwards, right before it reaches the wall to break again. The break would reverberate at decreasing intervals until it approaches zero, like dropping a marble on a hard surface. This is also why breaking a mirror is considered bad luck since, during the break, the reflective nature of the mirror magnifies the effects of Hzoila, sometimes creating deep fractures in time--hence the saying "seven years bad luck." [See more]

City #51: Elinelila (Lillian L)

Lines, colors, shapes, form. The citizens of Elinelila converse through design, who think of themselves as points that make lines through the city's plane. They achieve unity through repetition. They attain harmony through symmetry. There are no hierarchies of wealth and status--only hierarchies that guide visitors through the story the city wants to tell. This causes debate about where the focal point of their city should be, without sacrificing the unity of the whole. Luckily, conflict and tension delivers balance, a fundamental principle of design. [See more]

City #52: Vimayali (Divyesh M)

The two sides that make up the city of Vimayali gently rise above the ancient and rugged river of Wothmella. East and West Vimayali are tied together by a series of delicate rope bridges. However, it is rare to see the bridges occupied by anything other than birds and seaweed since Vimayali Law states that a citizen must cross the bridges once and only once during their lifetime. As one would expect, the elderly cross the bridges to retire, and the wretched cross to start anew. Some cross with families, some cross with loved ones. Each side of Vimayali is both temporary and permanent, life and afterlife. For most, the decision to cross over is paralyzing. Some just take off in the night, chasing the moon. Some wake up early and cross in time to see the sunrise. [See more]

City #53: Nezzanbetti (Bernadette P)

The citizens of Nezzanbetti have an unusual relationship with birds. The city’s human inhabitants model their homes after their feathered friends, who, in exchange, build their nests in the shape of their hominid counterparts. The people have also adopted fowl-like behavior, often moving in complex patterns as a synchronous group, sometimes drawn to congregating on thin wires at hazardous heights. The birds are unnaturally independent, occasionally moving in monogamous pairs or exclusive posses. Some birds are hunters, some are gatherers, some are builders, leaders, or performers. The human residents do not speak, but sing and dance to communicate. They wear elaborate, colorful wardrobes to court their mates. They cannot fly, but they walk with a certain weightlessness. And the birds do fly, but always in straight lines, as if following invisible roads and imaginary signs. [See more]

Landmark #11: Teslaeryl (Cheryl T)

Teslaeryl "The Mischievous Mountain" is made up of clay and whimsy. It will scrunch and fold its face as you climb to its summit. It will pose riddles through its cracks and crevices, making you question the meaning of "up" and "down." Those who aim to race to the top tend to find themselves unable to leave the ground as Teslaeryl continuously redefines its meaning of "top". Veteran climbers explain that one does not climb Teslaeryl, but the mountain "climbs you" so-to-speak. Someone who is fixed on a specific target has a mountain that is flat. Someone who is wandering or lost has a mountain that is rugged and uneven. And there are some who carry a void--a deep void of time, feeling, or being--who have a mountain that is boundless. [See more]

Landmark #12: Anatati (Tatiana V)

As old as the continents, there are four permanent ocean waves, given the names: Anatati, Arnond, Amelhi, and Anirsti. These are the only four waves that have been recorded to change the geography (and thus history) of entire land masses, and each has been noted to abide by a unique temperament. Anatati, the Wave of Sanguine, plays with how she crashes upon the coasts, with her accidental brush strokes that paint the many unique natural wonders that we worship today. Arnond, the Wave of Resolve, is the force that pushes the ocean currents, taking direct instructions from the Moon and Sun. Amelhi, the Wave of Reasoning, with a long and pointy body, supervises the direction, flow, and temperature of our bodies of water by thrusting and cutting lesser waves as necessary. Anirsti, the Wave of Mindfulness, creeps at the ocean floor, tasked to contemplate the entirety of the world as it existed and what it will or will never be. [See more]

Landmark #13: Arnond (Brandon V)

As old as the continents, there are four permanent ocean waves, given the names: Anatati, Arnond, Amelhi, and Anirsti. These are the only four waves that have been recorded to change the geography (and thus history) of entire land masses, and each has been noted to abide by a unique temperament. Anatati, the Wave of Sanguine, plays with how she crashes upon the coasts, with her accidental brush strokes that paint the many unique natural wonders that we worship today. Arnond, the Wave of Resolve, is the force that pushes the ocean currents, taking direct instructions from the Moon and Sun. Amelhi, the Wave of Reasoning, with a long and pointy body, supervises the direction, flow, and temperature of our bodies of water by thrusting and cutting lesser waves as necessary. Anirsti, the Wave of Mindfulness, creeps at the ocean floor, tasked to contemplate the entirety of the world as it existed and what it will or will never be. [See more]

Landmark #14: Amelhi (Michael L)

As old as the continents, there are four permanent ocean waves, given the names: Anatati, Arnond, Amelhi, and Anirsti. These are the only four waves that have been recorded to change the geography (and thus history) of entire land masses, and each has been noted to abide by a unique temperament. Anatati, the Wave of Sanguine, plays with how she crashes upon the coasts, with her accidental brush strokes that paint the many unique natural wonders that we worship today. Arnond, the Wave of Resolve, is the force that pushes the ocean currents, taking direct instructions from the Moon and Sun. Amelhi, the Wave of Reasoning, with a long and pointy body, supervises the direction, flow, and temperature of our bodies of water by thrusting and cutting lesser waves as necessary. Anirsti, the Wave of Mindfulness, creeps at the ocean floor, tasked to contemplate the entirety of the world as it existed and what it will or will never be. [See more]

Landmark #15: Anirsti (Kristina L)

As old as the continents, there are four permanent ocean waves, given the names: Anatati, Arnond, Amelhi, and Anirsti. These are the only four waves that have been recorded to change the geography (and thus history) of entire land masses, and each has been noted to abide by a unique temperament. Anatati, the Wave of Sanguine, plays with how she crashes upon the coasts, with her accidental brush strokes that paint the many unique natural wonders that we worship today. Arnond, the Wave of Resolve, is the force that pushes the ocean currents, taking direct instructions from the Moon and Sun. Amelhi, the Wave of Reasoning, with a long and pointy body, supervises the direction, flow, and temperature of our bodies of water by thrusting and cutting lesser waves as necessary. Anirsti, the Wave of Mindfulness, creeps at the ocean floor, tasked to contemplate the entirety of the world as it existed and what it will or will never be. [See more]

City #22, Visit #1: Jirameas

The boulders that balance Jirameas are not the kind that you would find laying on the ground or cut by the forces of erosion or ice. Each mass of rock is hand-carved by citizens of Jirameas to reflect the appropriate size and shape of the ailment it represents. For example, to create the boulder for disease, they swing sledgehammers to create visible and hidden fractures that permeate the rock. For poverty, they rub sandpaper on the rock’s surface until it bleeds . To create the stone of corruption, they hollow out the rock, creating a just shell that will shatter if thrown too hard. And when pondering how to carve the boulder of ignorance, they sat and sat and thought, until they gave up. [See more]

City #54: Gdilila (Kristin G)

There are two pieces that make up the city of Gdilila: the body and the hands. The body is no surprise; the streets are the arms and avenues, the legs. The temple is the temple (of course), the bridge is the neck, and so on. But the city’s hands are more interesting. Ever wonder where traffic jams come from? It’s when the index finger lifts the avenues ever so slightly. Thunderstorms are jazz hands, while a gentle breeze is born from a swift flick of the wrist. Serendipity is actually caused by the touching of two pinkies. Tragedy can be endured by firmly, gently pressing hands together, and can be overcome by slowly pulling them apart. And something that is lost can be found by running a finger along the wrinkles of the palm. [See more]

System #6, Visit #1: Vumaaste

The thread between father and daughter is violet, with hues of extravagance when the violet is saturated, frustration when darkened, and magic when brightened. The thread between mother and son is red, with moments of strength when ignited, danger when flickered, and desire when cooled. Between friends, the thread is chartreuse that mimics growth and healing. Between lovers, orange implies the sensation of heat, and symbolizes endurance when mixed with yellow and pleasure when mixed with red. Between ex-lovers, azure is the color of the sky, mist, eyes, and steel. Strangers and the estranged are treated similarly with yellow and gold, the color of bittersweet, cowardice, and imagination. [See more]

City #55: Vorotha (Evan R)

Tall leafless trunks cover the island of Vorotha, a barren forest at first glance. When you look a little closer, you see the wooden pillars slowly expand at their bases, then gently spread upward. Beneath, what is happening is some form of diffusion—of people, of things. It is quite efficient, actually; transportation requires absolutely no added energy. One only needs to join a crowd (the more concentrated the better) and Vorotha will naturally pull the cluster apart, hopefully in the direction they need to go. The same goes with things. For example, there are no hoarders in Vorotha. Hoarding—let's say, newspapers—will simply result in a papery explosion. And similarly with emotion, there's nothing like grudges or crushes in Vorotha. You cannot bottle up hate or love for too long, as the city will force you to distribute them evenly. [See more]

City #15, Visit #1: Otagani

In the beginning of every spring in Otagani, there is an annual Festival of Exhalation. On the day of the official spring equinox, there is a city-wide countdown. The numbers are not shouted as they are during New Year’s Eve; rather, the citizens murmur them under their breath to conserve precious air. When they get down to one, the citizens take one deep concerted breath, sucking all the city’s air into their lungs, collapsing the fabric walls around them. Then there is complete silence for about twenty seconds. Then the city starts to toss and twitch. The children burst in a barrage of exhales at first, as their lungs have not yet grown to full capacity. The soprano panting and puffing slowly give way to baritone hacking and hemming as the elder citizens struggle to recover their breath. The walls of the city slowly start re-inflate, starting with the outer edges of their citizens—the young and the old. Moving inward, the tweens and the middle-aged exhale with frustration, wishing they were just a little older or a little younger. Then the teens and their parents prove to each other they can last as long as the other. The twenty-somethings are left glaring at each other with delirious pride. Their faces are like bright red tomatoes; they would pass out before they concede to their peers. Towards the end, the city is like a stadium, with just a handful of athletes in the center, surrounded by a sea of wind, cheers, and jeers. There is old air, there is young air. There is air that births more air. There is prideful air, there is modest air. In Otagani, the air is as alive as its citizens. [See more]

City #55: Noonine (Bonnie J)

The round houses of Noonine are tossed in the air and caught in a cascading pattern, loosely resembling a figure eight. This activity is performed by the two sides of Noonine—East and West. Though complex and dizzying at first, when you live in Noonine for a long enough time, the repeating patterns become a source of tranquility. The gentle rising and falling, like a lullaby sung by streets and avenues, cradle its residents. Some describe the juggling pattern as hypnotic if you are tightly focused on the city’s skyline, as the figure eight—or the sign for “infinity”—slowly begins to expand, like the Fibonacci sequence, first encompassing you, then the neighborhood, then the entire city, then the continent, until you and the universe are equally large. [See more]

City #56: Nembahh (Hemnabh K)

In the city of Nembahh, relationships carry weight. That is to say, the more relationships you have, the heavier you are. Because of this, Nembahh is a city that slowly drifts, since the only way for Nembahh to stay still is if relationships were distributed symmetrically like a diamond or snowflake. The particularly gregarious citizens compete to pull the city in their own direction. Furthermore, relationships are constantly being forged and broken. The most popular person in town could suddenly become controversial, and the city's center a gravity would abruptly shift in the opposite direction. Lawmakers have put checks and balances in place to prevent any one individual to accumulate a disproportionate number of bonds, which may lead to an urban planetary system that revolves around a single star. And citizens are also wary of those at risk of cutting all ties to other people, which would lead to them drifting, weightless; a planet seeking the pull of another. [See more]