Dream Spheres and Urban Development

When she first told me her apartment complex was off NICE road I thought I heard ‘a nice road’. “Oh, great!” I replied, trying to show enthusiasm for surface pavement, “But what is the name?” “NICE”, she said again, “The toll road, about 3 kilometers from Electronic City.” There is a lot of ambiguity in … Continue reading

Intertextual styleee

Intertextuality is a word used to describe the experience of finding one text within another; it is the rejection of closure and the championing of an open, iterative process of dialogue and meaning. I’ve long convinced myself that intertextuality did not come from Julia Kristeva nor Mikhail Bakhtin, but rather King Tubby. I’d argue that … Continue reading

A Comprehensive Ideal of Self-Determination

Last week Susan Fainstein gave a talk on her new book, which revisits the major theme of her career–the just city–by trying to develop an urban theory of justice. Her criteria are diversity, democracy, and equity, three philosophical principles (or questions) she develops from the work of John Rawls, Martha Nussbaum, Nancy Fraser, and Iris … Continue reading

Intentional String Theory (aesthetic with no inside)

Can aesthetic reveal truths? Or is it that when we find truth (an instinctual, fleeting feeling of certain ‘rightness’) we also find aesthetic? I think both are possible, but, at this moment, I feel the urge to state that aesthetic can never be intentional. When we create for aesthetic and aesthetic only, it disappears. It … Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street

“Che Guevara was not a communist,” a girl says without glancing up from her cell phone, nodding in the direction of a group of five people wearing occupy the hood shirts; the face of Che in between the words occupy and hood. From where I sit, it’s too loud to hear what someone might have … Continue reading


The best part about Planner’s Network conferences is the organization’s ability to connect participants to a diverse range of projects and issues underway in the host city. This year’s theme on regional economic development was emphasized in the various excursions that took place throughout Memphis. Some highlights: Shelby Farms Greenline On Saturday about eight of … Continue reading

Deep Sea Sovereignty

Sovereignty is about power, boundaries, and sight. To possess we must define what it is we are possessing, to define we must see. How can one truly govern what one cannot see? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a story about one man’s attempt to possess the unpossessible, which, on a surface level, is all … Continue reading

Material Proximity

Where does sculpture end and geography begin? That was the unshakable question that developed in my head during a recent trip to the Noguchi Museum in Queens. A few days prior, I’d been reading Derek Gregory’s Ideology, Science and Human Geography chapter “Structural explanation in geography,” a discussion of Maus and Levi-Strauss’s elementary methods of … Continue reading

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

The title of this post is borrowed from Zizek’s 2010 book, a title that accurately describes the irony of a recent ad in the New York Times. Under the guise of tragedy, Eton Corporation’s “Help Japan by donating an Emergency Radio” illustrates the farce of contemporary consumption and its cultivation of an ‘authentic’ self by … Continue reading

Simulated History: Sidewalks and Streetscapes

One of my favorite moments of urban life is walking down a quiet street and listening to my shoes hit the pavement. The sound is a softer version of the clop clop I associate with horses and I’m inevitably transported to the 19th century; I imagine walking on down an uneven, dimly lit sidewalk that … Continue reading