Six months went by awfully quickly. I started writing for The Grid during a wet and cold January in Milan, Italy; it is now July, hot, and sunny. The internship happened to coincide with my last semester of graduate school; classes are over, and the once-distant light of graduation is within reach. The way these two have evolved together gives me courage in entering a new and increasingly sustainable world.
Working with the Global Site Plans team gave me an additional reason to spend more time researching environmental design issues, which I find relevant in my daily life as a former urban planning graduate student. It allowed me to discover new things about the town I was living in as a foreign student, and communicate them to a wider audience who may not have heard about them otherwise. Two topics come to mind. These include Universal Expo 2015, which will have a massive sustainable architectural impact on Milan and bring in new infrastructure investment, as well as millions of additional event participants over a 6 month period. The second topic is a refreshed approach to urban planning and understanding of urban form as proposed by the Structural Plan of Bologna, which identifies a city of cities rather than a singular entity.
This internship was not merely “an experience,” and is unable to be defined by flat descriptions like “good” and “enjoyable.” It may be due to my personal interest and investment in this field, but the relationship between The Grid and my thought process became unified. I began to see the world in a new analytical perspective, and endeavored to communicate my understandings of spatial construction, environment, and human interaction in the world around me. This was even more rewarding living abroad, as I learned about a new culture along the way.
Global Site Plans is a special community. It fosters unique interaction among its contributors and readers, and encourages a global perspective that is missing from most daily life. I wish the best to my fellow colleagues, and of course, Renee van Staveren, who has made all of this possible.