Big Cities: Colin Boyd Shafer

Caring for the Elderly

Migiwa Sugimoto is a visiting nurse who works as an assistant manager at “Kurashi no hokenshitsu” (counseling room), where many Tokyo senior citizens visit to consult about their health and other worries. Of all the people who visit, Sugimoto is mostly concerned about Setsuko Maruyama, 89. Maruyama lost her husband seven years ago. Although her dementia is progressing, she is living independently thanks to the her friendships formed at the counseling room and Sugimoto's weekly visits.


Video produced by NHK in Japan.

Get the free PBS App

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Bringing Life to Public Spaces

Two groups strive to reinvigorate public spaces amid blocky apartment structures and rigid urban development. An artist collective from Spain travels the globe to create murals that draw life back into dwindling public centers. In Medellin, Colombia, urban gardeners create green spaces that beautify the community and empower its citizens.

  • 2020-08-20T19:00:00-07:00

Cooperative Housing

People are rethinking housing arrangements in growing cities across the globe. Many are ditching the confines of traditional apartments and opting for communal living. In Seoul, three families band together to build the home of their dreams and the urban support system they’ve never had. On a larger scale, participants in a housing cooperative in Lyon band together to share space and the responsibilities of homeownership in a Vertical Village.

Featuring segments by KBS and QLM.

  • 2020-08-27T19:00:00-07:00

Immigrant Support Systems

Big cities attract dreamers from all over the world. This episode features the people building communities of inclusion for immigrants.

  • 2020-09-03T19:00:00-07:00

Helping Hands

Many people enjoy the anonymity found in city living, but this also creates dangers for more vulnerable people like the homeless and elderly.

In Malaysia, an organization called Rice & Roses feeds the needy, paying particular attention to those living on the streets of Georgetown, Penang. The group of volunteers prepares meals and delivers them, and offers free education to street children.

  • 2020-09-10T19:00:00-07:00