Utrecht: Stad Naar Mijn Hart

My encounter with Utrecht has been nothing short of serendipitous. What started as a spontaneous trip to the Schroderhuis (1924) morphed into Rietveld’s Universe and a delightful ode to Dick Bruna. “Architects aren’t supposed to lower space,” mused Schroder in a documentary reflecting on her relationship with Rietveld. But Rietveld wasn’t an architect in the … Continue reading

State Park Trinkets

So I’m writing this from my “cabin” at Maumee Bay State Park in Northern Ohio. It’s quite comfortable, I’m able to surf the internet and look out onto my neighbor’s BBQ. Those of us in the group who thought the cabin’s 8-person jacuzzi too shi-shi have opted to ‘rough it’ and stay in one of … Continue reading

There Are No Ghosts Here: The Ethereal New Urbanism

One of my favorite tracks by the Japanese musician Tavito Nano includes a little bit of English: Ka Ka Ka there are no ghosts here there are no ghosts here Everything is an illusion, Everything is an illusion, Everything is an i-l-l-u-s-i-on… That’s kind of how I feel about New Urbanism. Michel de Certu writes … Continue reading

The Graham Avenue Dream Cruise

Although Google map offers me all kinds of bike friendly routes, I inevitably chose to transect East Brooklyn via Graham Avenue. To a spatial illiterate like myself, Graham Avenue is a no brainer, a straight shot, a grid among the chaos of one-ways and dead ends. However, as I biked back from Greenpoint last night, … Continue reading

Iconic Secular Traffic Calming

It is dusk and the full moon gives a quiet glow to the street. The daytime noise of vehicle traffic is replaced by the gentle chaos of pedestrians feeding into the street to converse with neighbors. We are on an architectural walk through the streets of Velachery. At the junction of two residential streets is … Continue reading


The data in professor Sanjay Kumar Singh’s article, “Future Mobility in India,” predicts India’s CO2 emissions to increase to 93.25 million metric tons in 2020. That will be 73.45 more metric tons than the 2001 CO2 levels. In the era of climate-change speak, auto image-based cities like Los Angeles and Detroit are trying to reduce … Continue reading

Nungambakkam, Paris

Crossing over the Cooum from Egmore brings you south, to the Nungambakkam district of Chennai, which at 4:00pm yesterday, struck me as delightfully Parisian. Many governmental institutions are located along the Cooum, on College Road.  Across the river, high rise apartments are a mirage of Aubervillier. Nungambakkan is one of the wealthier districts of Chennai, … Continue reading

River Beautification

CMDA (Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority) recently released the 2026 Chennai Master Plan. The central theme of the Plan is Chennai’s transformation into a global city. In preparation for this identity, the Cooum River—one of three water bodies that runs through Chennai—is slated for two major development projects: the creation of an elevated express way and … Continue reading


You first feel the effects of Chennai’s pollution on your teeth. There’s a chalkyness that settles on the enamel. By the third day here, I found myself obsessively running my tongue over the front of my teeth and gums, hoping to wipe off this persistent taste and feeling of increasing brittleness. One of my colleagues … Continue reading

Aesthetic Selection

“There’s something soothing about seeing an even expanse of green grass that just seems to lower our blood-pressure a bit.” -American Lawns A weed is not the same thing as an invasive species. In 1999, former president Clinton signed Executive Order 13112 officiating the definition as “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely … Continue reading