The Genius of the Metropolis

Brimming with life, overflowing with creativity, ingenuity, and spontaneity, cities are where dreamers, scientists, artists, revolutionaries, slum dwellers, and titans rub shoulders, exchange ideas, and produce culture. This extended panel will be a wide-ranging exploration of the promises, failures, and future of humanity’s greatest invention: the metropolis.

VIKRAM CHANDRA is the author of Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (Criticism). He is a senior lecturer at UC Berkeley, where he teaches creative writing. He is married to the novelist Melanie Abrams.

LEO HOLLIS is a writer, historian and Senior Editor at Verso Books’ London office. In April 2013, he published Cities are Good For YouThe Genius of the Metropolis, which has become an international bestseller.

GARY KAMIYA was born in Oakland. He was a cofounder and longtime executive editor of His second book, Cool Gray City of Love49 Views of San Francisco, has been a Northern California bestseller since its publication in 2013. He is currently executive editor of San Francisco Magazine and writes a weekly history column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

KATHRYN MYERS is a painter and professor of art at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Her video series and website featuring conversations with contemporary artists in India, Regarding India, was initiated during a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to India in 2011 and will eventually include over sixty interviews. 

ANASTASIA EDEL (moderator) grew up in the south of Russia during the last years of the Soviet Union and is the author of Past Perfect. She has worked as a fiction translator for Empire Publishing and is a recipient of the British Government Chevening Award.