This is a classic New York City taxi cab:
This is a classic London hackney carriage:
Within the next few years, this'll become a New York City taxi:
And this'll be a London cab:
They're the same cab.
Earlier this week, Nissan and the City of London announced that the Nissan NV2000 will be the official taxi cab of London. The NV2000's already New York City's officially-sanctioned Taxi of Tomorrow, and it pretty much represents the latest in transportation technology. The NV2000 has sliding doors, antimicrobial seats, phone charging ports and all sorts of (very, very good) improvements to its emissions profile. It will be sleek and standardized, a sumptuously and painstakingly designed experience.
It will also be slightly modified in both cities. In London, it will be black. In NYC, it'll be yellow and black. London will have some fancy, extended wheel arches too, which Nissan writes will be "unique to London."
But in the same press release, Nissan boasts with greater force that the cabs feature "a bold look that incorporates Nissan's latest design language." Two cabs, the same basic car.
In the early 20th century, a class of artists and humanists fretted over the effect urban culture would have on small towns. Alan Lomax and his father traveled across the country to record folk music; the Works Progress Administration deployed a legion of amateur folklorists. A Yale intellectual, in a piece of professional correspondence, intoned about the need for small towns to "escape the cultural monopoly of the metropolis."