Categories
Design Neighborliness

In Hospitable Cities, You’re Welcomed by Design

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend Rob and I were driving back after a long hike in Waco’s beautiful Cameron Park when we spotted a locally owned baked-goods truck a few blocks from my house. After living in this neighborhood for almost a year, I decided it was time to try their gluten-free bacon jalapeno […]

Categories
Design

Snow Day: Can Your City Pass The “Winter Test”?

This article originally ran for Strong Towns. Nearly a year ago, just after moving to Waco, Texas, I found myself huddled on the couch with my roommate, wearing every possible layer I could and jumping up every few minutes to do jumping jacks and burpees. Once in a while, I’d peek outside the window and […]

Categories
Design Mobility Transit

Rethinking Normal: Five Ways to Explore Your City Without a Car

As more Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines, “getting back to normal” has become the phrase du jour. But when it comes to the design of our cities and neighborhoods, some city leaders are wondering if getting back to normal is truly worth it. Should we really be going back to relying on cars for every single outing? Some […]

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 […]

Categories
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 […]

Categories
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
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 […]