My internship with The Grid began in February of 2014, at a time when I was about to embark on a four month trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a concurrent internship. After completing my undergraduate degree I had set my sights on Rio, as I was keen to explore a city unlike any other. As an emerging global city preparing for its role as host of the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, I thought this presented a perfect opportunity to witness and better understand the urban transformations taking place.
While acting as a public space intern for the non-profit organization Catalytic Communities, my articles for The Grid allowed me to research other cultural and urban aspects of the city. I started with simple observations of Rio’s street art as I was becoming familiar with my surroundings, to learning about the tortured circumstances of Rio’s street children, and the complexities behind major transportation projects like the cable car in Complexo do Alemão. My two internships complemented each other perfectly because they allowed me to explore and delve deeper into Rio's social and urban fabric. The knowledge I gained about the city, its people, and its history through these two positions has made the time I spent in the Marvelous City to be both eye-opening and thought-provoking.
When I returned back to my hometown of Montreal, Quebec, I took the time to enjoy the summer in the city. The Village Éphémère was the perfect opportunity to do so, and has probably since been my favourite piece to cover because it was such an enjoyable pop-up space to be a part of. I was also excited to retrace familiar steps and discover new ones by doing some urban exploration that had me walking around the abandoned and overgrown Hippodrome racetrack.
Becoming an urban planning blogger for The Grid has given me the opportunity to get out and explore aspects of these two cities I otherwise wouldn’t have thought to research. I am grateful to my fellow interns at CatComm that pointed me in the right direction for various themes in Rio when I was slightly overwhelmed. I am thankful to have been granted the opportunity to write about topics that really interest me and turn them into what I hope has been enjoyable, informative articles. I look forward to beginning my master’s in the fall in Urban Regeneration, and I look forward to my new role as Assistant Editor with The Grid this spring and summer.
Credits: Images by Caitlin Dixon. Data linked to sources.