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, 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 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
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?
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
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
Inspired by a 1970s Monty Python sketch featuring the Ministry of Silly Walks, the village of Ørje (Norway) has come upon a rather unique method to encourage drivers to slow down: by suggesting pedestrians “walk silly” when crossing the street. The Swedish art collective Kreativiteket designed the sign, taking inspiration from none other than the fabricated ministry. While technically illegal according to the Norwegian news report, residents,… Read More Ørje & Ottawa: pedestrians get silly when crossing the street
The Dutch are fantastic at making fun of their quirky cycle culture, while simultaneously marketing this cycle-centric city planning model as the preferred option for countless (non-Dutch) cities to follow. I have to agree: with a central focus on city cycling for transportation, together with the consequent bicycle lifestyle that emerges with it, it is the envy of many cities… I love this 2-part… Read More How many objects, people, pets… can one Dutch cyclist carry on 2 wheels?
One of my favorite things about city cycling is the opportunity to witness the random, often obscure things that people take on their bicycle. After five years in Amsterdam, I can attest that the Dutch are the masters of this. I’ve nearly seen it all: Christmas trees carted on two wheels; luggage rolled next to a bike;… Read More Philly-style cycling: Feline on a Fixie
Leave it to Bill Nye: The Science Guy to explain the complex causes and consequences of climate change in roughly four minutes. And importantly, some tips for individuals to address the issue in their daily lives. Useful for teaching kids, or as a quick refresher, this is a great clip on why climate change is a… Read More Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye the Science Guy