Showing all posts tagged #travel:

My questions about Pr贸spera, answered

Posted on August 30th, 2021

I recently visited Pr贸spera, a Honduran startup city. I had a ton of questions and figured others might too, so I wrote an FAQ to share what I learned: Pr贸spera FAQ This FAQ is intended as a reference, covering the basic facts and current status of the project. My hope is that this document will help startup city builders learn from the path Pr贸spera is carving. It covers a range of topics:infrastructure in Pr贸spera and its neighborsHonduras'...

Argentina On Two Steaks A Day (Idle Words) clipping

Posted on September 16th, 2019

04.13.2006 Argentina On Two Steaks A Day The classic beginner's mistake in Argentina is to neglect the first steak of the day. You will be tempted to just peck at it or even skip it altogether, rationalizing that you need to save yourself for the much larger steak later that night. But this is a false economy, like refusing to drink water in the early parts of a marathon. That first steak has to get you through the afternoon and ...

Greater Los Angeles clipping

Posted on September 16th, 2019

I got back from Los Angeles last night and my head is still spinning. I鈥檇 move there again in a heartbeat. There are three great cities in the United States: there鈥檚 Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York 鈥 in that order. I love Boston; I even love Denver; I like Miami; I think Washington DC is habitable; but Los Angeles is Los Angeles. You can鈥檛 compare it to Paris, or to London, or to Rome, or to Shanghai. You can interestingly contrast it to...

Markets in everything at the Duomo

Posted on August 11th, 2019

You're not allowed inside the Duomo with your shoulders uncovered. We learned this the hard way. I was wearing a spaghetti strap dress (it's 92鈩/33鈩 and humid here in Milan), so they stopped my little group at the entrance, after we'd already purchased 3 tickets. Luckily, we only had about 15 seconds of frustration. I said "Ah that's a shame", Sebasti谩n responded "Oh I'm sure there's a shop around here somewhere", Tyler said "Markets in eve...

Travel photos are underrated

Posted on June 9th, 2019

I snapped many photos while wandering Haifa last week, as I always do whenever I see something new or interesting while exploring a city. I was with my friend Tyler, who conspicuously does not take photos while exploring a new place. I asked him why, and his answer was, "It's a distraction, and I can find better images online." The first half of his answer really resonated with me. I too find it distracting to document something in the midst ...

Field notes: London, England

Posted on December 26th, 2018

I was in London for a conference for a few days in late October. The city was lovely, an unexpectedly nice place to wander. I came in with low expectations, expecting a drab, grey metropolis congested with traffic and filled with suited financiers scurrying from place to place. What I found was an agglomeration of charming urban villages, each with their own specific flavor. They were pedestrian-friendly, spotted with parks, and draped with tr...

Zonificaci贸n norteamericana vs japonesa

Posted on November 29th, 2018

This is a Spanish translation of notes from about a year ago. You can find the original in English here. Estas notas provienen de leer dos publicaciones del blog fant谩stico Urban Kchoze:Urban kchoze: Japanese zoning (aqu铆 est谩 la copia anotada)Urban kchoze: Euclidian zoning (aqu铆 est谩 la copia anotada) El sistema japon茅s es inclusivo, distinto al sistema americano que es exclusivo. La forma t铆pica de zonificaci贸n en America se llama zonificac...

City review: Manchester, England

Posted on November 8th, 2018

Update: A few people have criticized my spending only a single Friday night in Manchester. I meant to highlight the fact that that my experience isn't comprehensive, not to imply I think I have some deep understanding of the place after just one short weekend. However I realize it may have come off as the exact opposite. So to clarify the limited scope of this post: I was in Manchester for a short time, and some specific differences in culture...

City review: A day in Bangalore

Posted on August 2nd, 2018

I spent Friday, 9 March 2018 in Bangalore, India, the last of the cities I visited that week. Of the five, Bangalore was the one that pleasantly surprised me the most. I had never been to India before, and I prepared myself for an underdeveloped, hectic urban experience. Its infrastructure was substandard, and it was not a sparkling metropolis like Singapore or a viscerally ambitious culture like Beijing, but it had a dynamism and cosmopolitan...

North American vs Japanese zoning

Posted on May 30th, 2018

I originally published these notes in April of last year in one of my old blogs. These notes come from reading two blog posts from the wonderful Urban Kchoze blog:Urban kchoze: Japanese zoning (here is the annotated and cached copy)Urban kchoze: euclidian zoning (here is the annotated and cached copy)The Japanese system is inclusionary, as contrasted to the exclusionary system common here in the US. The typical zoning form in America is calle...

Japanese street networks

Posted on May 22nd, 2018

I originally published this in May of last year in Idea Collector, one of my old blogs. Epistemic status: This is a quick write up of my personal experience wandering Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo last May. I'd be curious to learn how it compares to objective measures, models, others' experience, and so on! Epistemic effort: I noted my impressions in bullet-point form while wandering around the cities, then when I returned from the trip I spent ~1h ...

Continuous urbanization in Japan

Posted on May 21st, 2018

I originally published this in May of last year in Idea Collector, one of my old blogs. Epistemic status: This is a quick write up of my personal experience wandering Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo last May. I'd be curious to learn how it compares to objective measures, models, others' experience, and so on! Epistemic effort: I noted my impressions in bullet-point form while wandering around the cities, then when I returned from the trip I spent ~1h ...

City review: A day in Jakarta

Posted on May 21st, 2018

I spent Thursday, 8 March 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Of the cities I visited during this trip, Jakarta was the one I disliked most. I try to be as positive as possible on the internet (it's just too easy to be negative), but in this case it would be ingenious. The parts of Jakarta I explored were unpleasant and a bit depressing. If Las Vegas and Mad Max had a baby... The main thoroughfare felt more like a highway than a street. This combine...

Scale-free travel

Posted on May 7th, 2018

Cities are fractal. You can always go a layer deeper and there鈥檚 just as much complexity. Following this principle, I sometimes think it might make sense to just stay in San Francisco my whole life and explore the infinite levels of that fractal. It鈥檚 cheaper than interstate or international travel anyway, and according to this framework you get the same amount of interestingness no matter how many levels deep you go. The catch is that whe...

Singapore and the international community

Posted on April 20th, 2018

A while back Daniel Frank emailed me about the essay I published about Singapore, and he was skeptical of the idea that the international community would act as a deterrent against authoritarianism in Singapore:First, I don鈥檛 think this applies to most countries (for example, look at the muted Western protest to changes in countries like Turkey and Poland). Secondly, I specifically think doesn鈥檛 apply to Singapore. The two most influential n...

A day in Singapore, Part I: Urban identity

Posted on April 19th, 2018

Epistemic status: My personal impressions from wandering the city for a day. Very likely that I'm missing important nuance in lots of places. If you notice a gap, please let me know! I'm so curious to learn more about Singapore. This is more of a diary entry than a worldview. Not sure how to put a confidence interval on that. 馃檪 Epistemic effort: I jotted down notes throughout the day in the city and wrote up this post without lots of editing...

City review: A day in Saigon

Posted on March 22nd, 2018

I spent Tuesday, 6 March 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. I like the city鈥檚 pre-war name better (not a political statement鈥擨 just think it鈥檚 prettier 鈽猴笍), so I鈥檒l use that throughout the post. Most of the signs around town used "Saigon" rather than HCMC, and some of the locals I spoke to called it that too, so I think it鈥檚 kosher. As with Beijing, I was also excited for the food, to get a sense of daily life, and of course ...

City review: A day in Beijing

Posted on March 17th, 2018

I spent Monday, 5 March 2018 in Beijing. The urbanist nerd inside of me was thrilled to see China鈥檚 capital. I鈥檇 read so much about its astounding growth and change in the past few decade鈥攆inally a chance to see it firsthand! I was also excited for the food, to get a sense of daily life, and of course to build my mental map of the city. My key takeaway is that Beijing is an epicenter of cultural and technological change, but the experience ...

Singapore: Sovereign City

Posted on March 7th, 2018

Epistemic status: Highly uncertain, asserted with ~40% confidence. Low enough that I didn鈥檛 publish this piece when I originally wrote it in May of 2016. But a recent first trip to Singapore reaffirmed the intuitions in here. Even if the argument is wrong, I think it鈥檚 wrong in interesting ways, and I want to start a conversation about it. Plus, since originally drafting this essay I now have the concept of "epistemic status" in my toolset (h/...

Google Maps Convinced Me to Ditch My Car

Posted on June 30th, 2016

I am always a little embarrassed when people find out that I had a car in college. I'm a transit geek after all, and I always encourage friends to take public and on-demand transit rather than generate congestion and consume parking spots. Despite all this, I drove multiple times each week last year, because I felt like it was my only real option to get to places I needed to go around the Bay Area. Now, I rarely drive anymore, and I've become ...