When I first started my internship with The Grid, I had just moved to Los Angeles. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really know what to expect. I saw Los Angeles as an opportunity to experience living in a major American city and to try my hand at something new. In hindsight, Los Angeles was a gateway to my understanding of complex urban processes and how those processes help dictate the narratives of everyday people.
Los Angeles in its modern form is truly a city composed of cities— the lines where one city starts and another ends are blurred. It’s often confused whether people refer to Los Angeles the city (population: 3.8 million) or Los Angeles the county (population: 10 million). Regardless, Los Angeles is a microcosm containing an intense diversity of people, buildings, and ideas. As famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”
As part of my exploration of this behemoth of a city, I needed a means to document the various projects and initiatives I saw. The Grid provided the platform and the tools for me to write, and the wonderful staff of editors have no doubt polished the quality of the articles I have published. Some of the most popular posts I have written revolve around the topics of urban agriculture, homelessness, and public art. My favorite aspect of blogging was to visit the sites of certain projects I would read about online or in the newspaper, and then to try and draw the connections between geography and the highlighted issue. From these experiences, I have learned that it really is impossible to study an issue of geography in isolation - one must always be thinking about the influence of issues such as politics, economics, race, culture, authority, and others.
I aspire to become a more conscious and involved citizen, and the stories and lives of everyday people inspire me to understand how the built environment can play a role in shaping our lives. Cities are becoming increasingly scrutinized as researchers seek to understand how we can construct more vibrant, healthier, and happier communities. I feel privileged to be a part of The Grid team, and will continue writing as a means of learning and further exploring urban themes.
Credits: Images by Victor Tran. Data linked to sources.