Throughout the past year, I have lived in Honolulu, Hawaii; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Astana, Kazakhstan; and Boston, Massachusetts, all at varying distances from my native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Writing for The Grid during this exciting time was a great opportunity that empowered me to be an explorer of these cities. The Grid’s bloggers offer local insights with a global perspective. To do this, I found that I needed be out and about, routinely observing and investigating the city - its form, aesthetic, and underlying natural systems. Through this exercise, I learned to articulate my observations and critique plans, projects, and developments.
In addition, The Grid gave me a medium through which to share innovative projects, inspiring plans, and stories about my favorite places, including:
- The construction of an elevated, light-rail line on the island of Oahu in Hawaii;
- The redevelopment of Walter Reed Army Medical Center into a mixed-use, institutional, residential, and commercial community;
- Historic preservation in Pinehurst, North Carolina;
- Kazakhs’ use of malls as civic spaces; and
- Residents’ apparent love for a dilapidated, Soviet-era amusement park in rapidly developing and changing Astana.
The Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst, North Carolina
The Khan Shatyr in Astana, Kazakhstan
Furthermore, as a city-planning graduate student, writing for The Grid helped me to become more engaged in the planning profession. Persuasive writing is a competency of the profession, and aspiring planners must work to develop this skill. Planners should blog, write op-eds, and otherwise share their viewpoints with the public.
The Author Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
Credits: Photographs by Sunny Menozzi. Data linked to sources.