The Chinese are saving Africa’?
When casually chatting about the pace of Nairobi's rapid development, my new friend (the brother of a former colleague) exclaimed "the Chinese are saving Africa yo!" He explained to me that Chinese development companies and engineers had taken a business interest in the 'developing world'. They constructed multiple major highways and thoroughfares around Nairobi and completed the work in a remarkably fast time frame (~3 years or so). They brought the managers with them and now that the job is ... Continue Reading
Freddie Gray’s city: is it still so charming?
Charm City, why do they call you this? And where is all the post-'riot' destruction? Those were the big questions I had as I made my way from where I grew up (just outside of your arch nemesis city Washington DC) to your downtown. I'm guessing charm city is an old name they used to call you; is it still true? Maybe I'm a misguided visitor, but I'm kinda looking for historical charm in a contemporary time; if it's too strange to pit the present-day realities against selective memories of the ... Continue Reading
Are signs really that interesting? – A photo essay
I. Love. Signs. I thought it was a strange fascination at first until I learned more about the art and science of way finding. Many jurisdictions have full time staff, sometimes teams, dedicated to figuring out how best to make their cities more navigable. Yes, navigable is a word. I heard it at a smart people conference once and was like *record scratch*. I applied for a job once to work on New York City's roll out of a new way-finding system and in learning about the job opportunity, I ... Continue Reading
How did Medellín go from murder capital of the world to most innovative in the world?
If you find yourself in this wonderful city in a valley, do yourself a favor and say it the way locals do. Never mind that all the Spanish lessons I ever had led me to believe that the double L equals a ‘y’ sound. In Latin America, and in Colombia specifically, it is not ‘Mede-yeen’. You will say this and people will stare at you. Seriously. On the coast in Cartagena, locals pronounced it with soft ‘jean’ sound; once I got to the city, the softer subtleties were dropped and the ... Continue Reading
What can buildings tell us about the history of the world?
The Guardian takes us on a wild ride across the globe and back in time for a brief history of cities as told through 50 buildings. Beautiful photographs of buildings each come with a snippet and full length article detailing the significance of the building, the city where it's located, and the social/political/economic highlights of times past and present. Pictured above, a public housing unit Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada built by an ambitious and idealist architect. An excerpt from the ... Continue Reading
Why this blog of questions?
This is the story of visiting a place without doing any research or proper trip planning, and watching that trip seed the very idea for the blog you're reading. The story of a girl who is enamored with the way people give meaning to the world. The ways places are built, the materials used, and the governments in place to impose social order. The symbols, myths, and lore people draw from to articulate their history, legitimize their societal norms, and endear the mysteries of the universe with ... Continue Reading