Quito: mountains, history & a giant conference about cities

In October 2016, 40000 people gathered in Quito, Ecuador, for the United Nations Habitat III Conference. Unlike other UN processes that focus on national government engagement, “H3” also saw 5000 city leaders make their voices heard, meeting in Quito and Bogotá (Colombia) at related local government events. They did so to ensure the final document adopted, the… Read More Quito: mountains, history & a giant conference about cities

Challenges as Opportunities? How to be bold, build bridges and move forward in transitional times

In November 2016, just after the results of the US presidential election, I was invited to speak at the Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) General Assembly Forum of Inspiration. EMA is a global network of alumni who have participated in European (joint) Masters and PhD programmes, via Erasmus Mundus. (My masters,  the Master of Environmental Science, Policy… Read More Challenges as Opportunities? How to be bold, build bridges and move forward in transitional times

Barcelona: “Superblocks” to the rescue! Returning city streets to the people.

Barcelona, Spain (population: 1.7 million) is a charming coastal city with a medieval town centre, fantastic and famous architecture, great beaches and cliff-side cafés… A friend of mine (from Barcelona) used to describe his city as “the GREATEST city in the world!” After several visits, I can attest: it is one of my favorites! Despite its… Read More Barcelona: “Superblocks” to the rescue! Returning city streets to the people.

Budapest: Liberty Bridge becomes spontaneous public space due to construction

Budapest has long held a special place in my heart, more than just the home to my alma mater, Central European University. The city is incredibly beautiful and deeply creative when it comes to public space planning. It has an amazing bar scene that makes use of dilapidated buildings or unused lots, turning them into so-called ruin… Read More Budapest: Liberty Bridge becomes spontaneous public space due to construction

Reflections on Seattle’s #BlackLivesMatter Protest: How can we come together?

I’m often silent on #BlackLivesMatter. It’s not to say I don’t care; I care deeply. But what can I offer more than solidarity in sadness of lives unnecessarily lost? Then, on my bus ride home in Seattle last night, I stumbled upon a #BlackLivesMatter protest, in light of the recent tragic killings of Philando Castile, of Alton Sterling,… Read More Reflections on Seattle’s #BlackLivesMatter Protest: How can we come together?

Music, Dance, Theatre: just another day taking the Paris Metro

Paris, city of arts, culture, history, surprise… And one of the largest underground metro systems in mainland Europe. The Paris Metro contain 16 metro lines, with 300 stations, which cover 10×10 kilometres of central Paris. It is not only a public transport system though; it also features fantastic music and entertainment. However, in Paris (and many cities) these beautiful musical… Read More Music, Dance, Theatre: just another day taking the Paris Metro

Budapest cool: history and hipsters join forces, resulting in one fantastic, evolving city

In 2005 I moved to Budapest, to study in the Masters of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (MESPOM) programme at Central European University (CEU). More than 10 years on, MESPOM was one of the best decisions of my life. Studying with 50 students from 35+ countries meant that every lecture followed in international reflection. I… Read More Budapest cool: history and hipsters join forces, resulting in one fantastic, evolving city