It's already disappearing. The temporary city that forms during the annual Burning Man event is fading away, as the tens of thousands of people who traveled out to live in the desert of northwestern Nevada for the past week have filed out of the void and returned back to the rest of the world. The event's organizers and volunteers are still erasing the traces of the event, from demolishing structures to removing fencing to picking up trash. Within another week or so, the entire city will have disappeared.
It's an interesting way for a city to exist -- just a few weeks at a time, once a year. But it's been working for Burning Man and Black Rock City, the name of that temporary city that forms and disbands almost as soon as it comes to full life. On top of what's already a unique experiment in citymaking, the theme of this year's event was Metropolis, which spurred the tens of thousands of people and artists who make up the city to think a little more about how their "party in the desert" is actually a little city and community (the fourth largest city in Nevada during its run), and how it relates to their world beyond the desert.