Few web surfers can resist collections of photos such as 10 Towering Tree Houses, 12 Unbelievable Examples of Buildings in Motion, 20 Awesome Gun and Bullet Artworks, or 24 Gripping Ghost Towns and Abandoned Cities. That's exactly the kind of show WebUrbanist puts on all the time, though the site is probably best known for producing The Definitive Guide to Banksy Graffiti and Street Art.
According to its logo, WebUrbanist is about urban design, culture, travel, architecture and alternative art. Although the emphasis is on the urban environment, the site will cover anything from thumbtack art to space travel, if it's whacky stuff. You probably wouldn't think of making an elephant sculpture from discarded Cambodian weapons unless you'd seem it on WebUrbanist.
Technically, WebUrbanist is a blog, though usually with only one post per day. Stories are in a single narrow column, and you might get two or three images in each small panel, with 50-100 words underneath. The result looks neat and tidy, and means pages don't take long to download. Thankfully, you never need to click 25 times just to see 25 images. However, there are usually links to sources, which might be magazines, blogs, or Flickr.
In a very brief interview in July, Kurt Kohlstedt, WebUrbanist's founder and lead editor, said: "One post a day, five authors, one lead editor is the master plan behind the success of WebUrbanist." Authors who only have to make one or two posts a week can put quality over quantity.
Also, unlike most blogs, WebUrbanist doesn't focus on timeliness. It really doesn't matter when you post or look at a collection of pictures of, for example, bookcases, converted sea forts, or mazes. So although you can access WebUrbanist via its monthly archives, it's better to think of it as a growing archive of galleries, collected into topics such as vehicles, buildings and cities.
WebUrbanist is closely integrated with WebEcoist, a sister site launched in August. This covers everything from heroic stories of handicapped pets to environmental oddities, and includes green design and sustainable living.
WebEcoist takes the same approach as WebUrbanist, with stories such as 15 Amazing & Unusual Trees Around the World, 15 Adorably Tiny Miniature Pets & Animals, and 15 Delicious Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes. The result is a lot less male and geeky than WebUrbanist.
WebUrbanist is a very successful site: it claims more than a million unique visitors per month, and about 65,000 people subscribe to its RSS feed. The site also accepts advertising and is looking for sponsors. But perhaps it would have done even better under a different title.
Although Europeans still tend to relate "urban" to cities and town planning, the word has a much larger set of associations in the US. "Urban" is now a genre of music originally associated with hip-hop and other ghetto styles. It's basically a replacement for what was commonly called "black music".
Urban music fans who visit WebUrbanist will find it has no connection, though they should still enjoy the trip.
Burgess Powers enables social media management and security