Categories
Non-fiction

Aspiration Man X

If you haven’t ever had a video game phase, you may find the first half of this essay weedy. If you have had a video game phase but did not come of age in the 1990s, you may find the second half of this essay obvious. If you had a video game phase when you […]

Categories
Architecture urbanism

Making cities by people

Inspired by a prompt from the Jan Gehl Institute, Charlotte asked me about cities on one of our morning walks. This is what I had to say. CG: How do you make cities for people? IH: Well, first of all, I don’t think it’s enough to say ‘make cities for people.’ You have to make […]

Categories
Fiction

Nuclear Lake

It’s a miracle of psycho-evolution and a sobering truth of human squeamishness that everyone– from hobos to kings, from soldiers to bakers–┬áhas their safe mental crevice to crawl into when they defecate. Some remember their parents’ kitchen, some summon the the picture of a deer drinking from a brook, others hum the Bottleneck Blues… Me, […]

Categories
Music

Music and work

I found this piece in an old notebook, dated November 13, 2013. Some like to listen to music at work, some don’t.I had a revelation about what music does in the context of work– I wonder if this is a common opinion– which I think is a more productive analysis.Instead of it being so black […]

Categories
urbanism

Once a week

I, enjoying a recent wealth of free time, had spent the first three months of 2020 volunteering and engaging with organizations in my community. CSA (distributing vegetables, graphic designing newsletters), Community Board meetings (asking questions about a proposed development, witnessing deliberations on zoning), Habitat for Humanity (building houses, sprucing up schools), Brooklyn Bridge Park (cleaning […]

Categories
Non-fiction

Karmic Economics

I: Modernity In his book Debt: The First 5000 Years, David Graeber sums up capitalism with a powerful picture which has stuck in my mind. He sets the stage in the late Middle Ages, which ended roughly around 1450 AD, during which the seeds for our modern financial world order were sown. In that era, […]

Categories
Non-fiction urbanism

What we talk about when we talk about Urban Renewal

I. The Chicago Plan I have written before about the relationship between spaces for production and the spaces for consumption which must both exist in cities. It is a slow dance that has been going on for centuries, and it begs the following question: if there is a slow dance, when does the music change? […]

Categories
Non-fiction

Stories we re-tell ourselves

At the risk of sounding like folks who listen to classical music only to feel sophisticated, Steve Reich is one of my favorite composers. Yes, I know, his isn’t strictly speaking classical music. But he’s certainly embedded in the timeline (to his approbation or not, given that he started out as a bit of a […]

Categories
Non-fiction

Forgetting About Sports

I enjoy academics. They are quintessential nerds, enormously obsessed with miniscule things. The contrast between their enthusiasm and the specificity of the subject is endearing, comical. Watching them interact with those outside their field highlights the contrast, and watching them interact with those inside their field makes me realize that a shared interest alone can […]

Categories
Architecture

Time Management

My mother forwarded me this Dezeen article from a week ago. It was oddly coincidental, because at an office happy hour just a week before we had talked about the tricky balance, which all architects strive to find, between being productive and being creative. In fact, it is famously sensitive and controversial, especially when discussed […]