The City Space

Cultivating Urban Understanding

A Glance at 2014

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This is probably the longest time I’ve gone without blogging, but it was a much needed rest, in the midst of holidays, travel, a busy season at work, and planning for the future. I’m back with a recap of 2014, including favorite posts from each month.

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In January, I was fighting it out through a deep, snowy New York City winter. I wrote Young Wanderers: Where My Generation is Headed and How We’re Getting There, a reflection on what it’s like to come of age during this economic recession, and all the expectations that are placed on young people.

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In February, I had spent enough time in NYC to have learned a few things (like moving quickly and dressing for all occasions) and I shared those, along with a few areas for improvement.

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In March, I wrote an in depth piece in two parts, regarding what’s wrong with the homeless shelter system in America and how we can change that picture. It was inspired by the work of my friend Abbilyn Miller.

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In April, as spring warmed up and I began to consider where I’d be going after my New York program finished, I created a graphic to help analyze the pluses and minuses of different modes of transportation. I still find it useful today.

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May brought with it the creation of this essay entitled “I Don’t Buy It: Ethical Consumption in the 21st Century. It was written truly from the heart, about the immoral system of global production, which we are all implicated in. I also offered some ways I attempt to consume in an ethical manner. It was my most popular post of all time.

Milwaukee's Third Ward in Winter

In June, I wrote about the city I was planning to move to: Milwaukee, WI. I talked about the transitions it is experiencing and the many ways it contradicts itself economically, culturally and architecturally. It was a helpful reflection in preparation for coming back to the Midwest, and it reflected a transition that many cities are currently undergoing.

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In July, after coming back home to Minneapolis for my birthday, I wrote a quick profile of one of my favorite neighborhood bars. I hope you’ve had a chance to find your favorite neighborhood bar in whatever city you live in.

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In August, I spent time discussing a topic that’s not really polite dinner conversation but is an important issue: bathrooms. Specifically public restrooms and the lack thereof in certain cities, and how that effects different segments of the population.

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By September, I was settling into a new apartment with my partner. I also had the chance to interview my cousin Christina about her life in Richmond, VA, particularly about what it’s like to have a biracial family in a southern city. An interesting discussion about education, health care and differences between the South and North ensued.

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In October, I started writing for the online city journal, Urban Milwaukee. My column profiles a new intersection in Milwaukee every week, crisscrossing the city and getting to know its diverse neighborhoods one by one. You can read all my articles thus far here.

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Finally, in November I seriously considered getting a car…but after weighing the positives and negatives, I came down firmly on the side of maintaining my bus/walk lifestyle. I feel healthier than ever and I know my city in a way I never would if I spent all my travel time inside a metal vehicle. I hope my essay helps you analyze whether cutting your car out of your life might be beneficial to you too!

Now here we are in December. It’s been a year of huge transitions. Last January, I set some simple, natural goals: Get the next job, get to the right place geographically, and keep figuring out what I should be doing. I can confidently say I have met all those. I am working to end homelessness–a goal that I believe is central in the fight for economic justice and an end to poverty. I am living in Milwaukee, WI–a city that is new, yet familiarly Midwestern, and feels like home because my partner is here with me. I am continuing to figure out where my future leads, whether that looks like grad school, government work, or a new city. Regardless, I know 2015 will be an adventure.

My current goals for the year ahead include getting to know more people in Milwaukee, cooking at least one recipe from all my cookbooks, applying to grad school, getting a cat, and of course, writing more great content for this blog.

A few other notes as we look back on this year:

The most important thing I have to share as we close out the year is my thanks for everyone who reads this blog. Thank you for taking the time to consider these ideas, provide your feedback, ask questions and make your cities and towns better everyday. Have a wonderful new year! I’ll be back soon with some photos from a recent trip to Montreal.

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