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Newsletter Archive

Part 4: The Power of Proximity

I originally thought this email newsletter would be about interesting trends, articles and podcasts related to cities. It might grow into that, but for now, I’d like to take a more personal direction and write about things I’ve learned about cities as I’ve navigated a very unexpected transition from living in the grand metropolis of New York […]

Categories
Design Neighborliness

The Importance of Proximity in Community

This essay originally appeared in Verily Magazine in October, 2021 Roughly a year ago (13 months to be exact), I found myself sitting in the passenger’s seat of a friend’s car, clutching a baby fiddle leaf fig tree I had bought from Trader Joe’s in Austin two hours earlier. I was fresh off a plane […]

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Design Mobility Transit Walkability

Three ways cars disrupt our sense of place

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I lived in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. As August rolled around, I made a spontaneous move and have spent the latter part of the pandemic from Waco, Texas. My experience in these two extremely different contexts has given me a chance to see how the […]

Categories
Design Europe

Cities Are for Older People, Too

We’ve all seen them on our Instagram feed: older people photographed in classy outfits, reading a newspaper, sipping a coffee, or walking with their hands folded behind their back. It was not until Europe that I realized how unused I was to seeing older people out in the city. On street after street in Rome, […]

Categories
Design Mobility

The Hidden Inequity of Car-Based Design

Last Christmas, I had a lengthy and interesting debate with my mom about car dependence and the value of living in walkable places. Given her age and various health challenges, my mom was understandably suspicious about the idea of living without her trusty minivan. So I was surprised when she began sending me text messages […]

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Design Mobility Transit Walkability

Three Questions to Ask While Walking Your City

I’ve written previously about why it probably sucks to walk around your city. But I still think you should do it if you really want to understand the built environment around you. At the end of the day, no matter how many machines and robots whirl and march into our future, cities are primarily human […]

Categories
Engagement

Getting Involved in Your City is Tough…But Good for You (3 Reasons)

The processes that drive community engagement in our cities are broken, so most of us avoid them. They take up a lot of time, involve a dizzying amount of coordination, require divine measures of patience and rarely lead to the satisfaction of seeing something worthwhile accomplished in a quick and sustainable fashion.  Like most political […]

Categories
Design Regulation

The Cost of Adaptation is Too Damn High

One of the basic realities about cities is that they change. They change because humans change and keeping pace with this reality is at the heart of urban resilience. Resilient cities posses the ability to change with us as our knowledge, priorities and needs evolve. Resilient cities are those where the cost of adaptation is […]

Categories
Design Mobility Transit Walkability

5 Reasons Why Walking Your City (Most Likely) Sucks

As a traveling journalist, I have walked dozens of cities. I’ve walked the streets of Paris and Rome, the streets of forgotten small towns in the American South. I’ve walked exciting historic corridors and empty suburban wastelands. I’ve walked through ghettos, homeless encampments, busy intersections and luxurious, mansion-lined residential streets.  With every walk, I’ve discovered […]

Categories
Design Suburbia

Why proximity matters

The events of 2020 have made it obvious the role that proximity plays in how we experience our cities. The lockdowns of COVID-19 trapped many Americans in their suburban neighborhoods. The rallies and marches surrounding George Floyd’s death made clear the relationship between easily-accessible public space and democracy. The shift to remote work has anchored […]