Photo: Sarah Goodyear
Today is my last day as cities editor at Grist. I am no good at goodbyes, so I’m going to make this short and sweet.
For the last year, I have had the excellent fortune to have this awesome job. It’s been a rare and wonderful opportunity to explore all different aspects of urban life. I’ve written about beautiful things, like green roofs and the global upsurge in bike commuting. I’ve written about horror stories, like the case of Raquel Nelson, the mother convicted of vehicular homicide for crossing the street with her son. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with contributors like Elly Blue, whose Bikenomics series explored how we might be able to ride our way out of the recession on two wheels. I’ve had the chance to think about the new model cities that are being built from scratch across the globe. I’ve tried to break down some of the preconceptions about the divide between cities and suburbs. And I’ve tried to expose some of the absurdity inherent in the American addiction to sprawl development.
Why do I care so much about what happens in cities? Well, for starters, because so many people live in them — 80 percent of Americans and more than 50 percent of people around the world.
We need better, more livable cities to serve these people well. We need to stop sprawl so that we don’t pave over the green places we have left. Quality urban development is essential for the future.
That isn’t my only motivation, though. Part of it is just about love.
At heart, I am a city girl. I love the human energy and innovation that you find in the world’s best cities. I love the possibilities that can arise when people of all cultural backgrounds come together in one place. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s for me.
And that’s why I’m making a move. I’m leaving to join the Project for Public Spaces, where I’ll work with planners who are helping to make cities better places. Follow me on Twitter if you want to know more about what I’ll be up to in the weeks and months to come.
And I will still be contributing occasionally to Grist — writing about cities, and why they are necessary, and why they are wonderful.
Let’s not say goodbye, after all. Let’s just say see you later.