about me

 

I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago — the worst that urbanity has to offer. I grew up in a place where sidewalks are actually illegal, and where the nearest grocery store is 5km away with no public transit. I was bored; the people there were bored. Life was home –> car –> work –> car –> store –> car and repeat.

This was so normal to me that I never really understood the impact one’s environment can make on their well-being and basic social interactions until I moved to Spain. After finishing my undergraduate degree in mathematics, I had an opportunity to move to Tarragona, where I lived for two years in the center of the old Roman town core, literally in the town’s main plaza that was part of the ancient Roman hippodrome — it was incredible.

This is where I learned the impact that the city can make on its inhabitants, for the better or for the worse. I got to experience a truly ‘walkable’ place and see what it was like to witness strangers and bump into friends. I saw how a pleasant urban environment makes people feel more human, as opposed to the dehumanizing auto-metropolises that aren’t necessarily unique to Chicago.

This is why I returned to university to study urban design — I wanted to ensure that no one would have to experience a suburban childhood as I did, and I wanted to learn how to make that happen. I believe that making ‘good’ places is not so difficult, but we have to make the right decisions and the right priorities to make it happen.