Digital Media: How This Big City Reached Millions of Readers

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The Approach


This Big City was an online magazine which I founded in 2009 and ran through to 2015. Initially launched as a blog to aid my learning while undertaking a Master’s in Sustainable Communities and the Creative Economy, my ambitions - and the site’s readership - steadily grew.

Encouraged by this audience, the goal evolved to telling the story of sustainability innovations in cities to as many people as possible. Urban sustainability was, during the site’s early years, a rarely covered topic, enabling This Big City to grow into a project with multiple contributors and a substantial audience.

Collaboration quickly became an integral part of the project, with guest contributions initially supplementing my own writing. Over time, my work evolved into a solely editorial and strategic role, with all written contributions coming from guest writers.

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The Outcome


Partner projects in journalism and digital media were launched with a range of organisations, including the Financial Times, Next City and the New Cities Foundation.

The collaborative approach expanded into the editorial side of the project too, with seven other language editions launched and run by volunteer editors. This required content management system upgrades to enable easier launch of fully translated sub-editions, as well as a formalisation of the site’s values, tone of voice, and overall brand.

This Big City picked up multiple awards during its six years of publication, including recognition from Entrepreneur Magazine and Verisign as one of the world's top 100 .net websites. 

Articles across all language editions of the site were read over 2.5 million times, and the project grew to over 300,000 followers on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.  

Sustainable urbanism became a mainstream journalistic topic by 2015, when This Big City ceased publishing, with numerous high profile publications and media outlets focusing efforts on this area.