The new issue of Weapons of Reason , published by agency Human After All is the second in the series covering the interconnected global issues we are, and are going to live through. This issue, edited by It’s Nice That alumni James Cartwright takes megacities as its starting point, which by definition are cities with a population greater than 10 million. The magazine’s aim is to make them “less mega – more digestible and much easier to understand.” He elaborates: “We want [our readers] to grasp the problems they pose and think about how [they] might make a difference to their future.” A subject of such scale requires a lot of research: “We read a bunch of white papers, books, online articles and went to a couple of conferences hosted by the World Economic Forum. We spoke to academics all over the place to discuss their specific areas of research and contacted NGOs and charities to ask their advice,” explains James. After sifting through the information and working out the areas to explore further they went to press with a magazine packed with features as varied as the problem of youth loneliness in Tokyo, cybercrime, how to build the perfect city and the journey of a Mexican turd.
The magazine was art directed by Paul Willoughby and features illustration by Jean Jullien , Eve Lloyd Knight , Sarah Vanbelle and Edward Carvalho-Monaghan , amongst others; all of which make what could be an impenetrable subject, something that is much more appealing and accessible. Weapons of Reason has a great balance of features, infographics, illustration and photography, managing to be light while communicating the weight of the problems and experiences it describes.
The potential and problems with megacities is an intimidating subject, but one made manageable by the quality of writing and specificity of features that strike the balance of being informative and retaining the humanity that, although central to the topic, can often be lost among the very structures at stake. James recalls the surprise felt when they realised the statistics they were dealing with, “Looking at a subject like this makes you realise how fucking massive the human race is and the scale of infrastructure it takes to support us.”
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