Megalopolis Series 2
As millions more people join the exodus from the countryside seeking a living in the big city, Alexandra Leroux investigates how these ever-expanding urban sprawls cope with yet more incoming human beings. Istanbul is a ferociously fast-growing city, now home to some 12 million inhabitants. A combination of traditional Islamic and liberal European, the city is a joyful mix of paradoxes and contrasts. Alexandra visits the ancient and the modern to make sense of this vibrant place. Chicago is the US's third largest city and possibly one the greenest and most pleasant to live in. Always associated with its Italian-influenced gangster past, the city's population nowadays is a relatively even split between African Americans, Whites and Hispanics with a small but growing Asian community. As a result, the city, boasting some 200 districts, seems to change character at every street corner. Alexandra looks at the tensions unemployment, crime and gang-culture bring. However, Chicago certainly knows how to party and Alexandra samples the strong links the city has to blues, soul and house music. Seoul is the fourth most populated city in the world, home to a staggering 22 million people, and seemingly in a constant rush; hyper-active and ultra-competitive. Alexandra finds this 600-year-old city a place of infinite surprises but can it rival Tokyo or New York? In the mega cities of today, every market is bustling, every street teeming with people and every available space is at a premium. Could you survive in the Megalopolis?
No. of Episodes: 3
Alexandra Leroux begins her exploration of Istanbul on the banks of the Bosphorus at the Bilfen School, Turkey's biggest private school and a haven of Turkish pride. Alexandra then meets up with Rabia Yalçin, a fashion designer who creates clothes for all women, whatever their religion or beliefs. Alexandra glimpses Turkey's amazing culinary heritage and the diversity of its cooking, before discovering remains from the Byzantine. After taking part in a whirling dervish ceremony where men and women pray and dance together, Alexandra enters the fashionable quarter of Istanbul, immersing herself in the city's creative ferment, before finally going fishing from the Galata bridge.
Alexandra Leroux flies off to Chicago to experience 24 hours in the city of wind and corruption - one that will always be associated with Al Capone and the mob. Alexandra first meets Joël Burnam, an architect who lives on the river in the north of Chicago and who begins his day by kayaking downtown. She then meets chicken-loving 'locavores', before visiting the biggest stock-market in the world and the Maxwell Street flea-market and venturing into Chicago's Mexican quarter, the Pilsen neighborhood, famous for its murals. Alexandra also goes lakeside and checks out one of Chicago's most happening bars, the Hideout, where she rediscovers the tradition of square-dancing.
Alexandra Leroux starts attuning herself to the rhythms of Seoul at 7am on the streets with the 'substitute men', a new type of delivery-man. She then goes off to meet more elderly Koreans and winds up in a strange kind of school. As this is a place of infinite surprises, she experiences a very unusual training course with the employees of a life insurance company. At night, she discovers a more cosmopolitan, fashionable side of Seoul, but also the Seoul of North Korean refugees, religious people, expatriates and sexual minorities, before finally coming to the conclusion that it takes more than one visit to get to the bottom of this city that never sleeps.