Both professionally and personally, 2019 has been an exceptionally productive year. Reflecting on it, I see a window of time filled with new collaborations, fulfilling work assignments, and rewarding personal endeavors – altogether with many projects completed or well-advanced and ideas for greater things yet to come.
While my work does not neatly fit into categories, I arranged most of what I did this year into five broad categories:
Praxis: In 2019 I was busy churning out zines, walking tours, stickers, and workshops intersecting urban planning and design with social justice advocacy. This includes a commission to take photos for and design a report on gender equity for YWCA of Evanston/North Shore, teaching immigrant 5th graders what “social justice” is and making protest art with them, archival research and exhibition design for a dance performance around the history of East Garfield Park, and design and mapping for Tonika Johnson whose Folded Map project is finally waking up Chicagoans to the city’s vast segregation.
Collaborations: My endeavors would go nowhere if I didn’t have partners to help bring my ideas to people outside of the planning profession and I am grateful to have grown this roster in 2019. All year-long I partnered with teachers of preservation, psychology, social work, and sociology for walking tours in Uptown, Boystown, and Chinatown for colleges including SAIC, Roosevelt, Northwestern, Columbia, UIC, and, for the second year, the University of Utrecht. In May I partnered with Blackspace Chicago on 12 walking tours and had APA-IL provide CM credits. In June I led a queer walking tour for the Metropolitan Planning Council and in September I planned five walks in concert with the Architecture Biennial. I am also grateful to my many walking tour co-leaders, who make these events poignant and powerful.
Work: My assignments at MUSE Community + Design let me use my skills and grow new ones, while learning about my place in the field of urban planning. I particularly enjoyed teaching myself video editing to make promo videos for work with Lyft, visiting Champaign & Urbana for transit interviews for CUMTD, and even highlighting Chicagoland’s Women in Planning on MUSE’s Instagram.
Travel: Seeing to other cities seems mandatory given my work and I invariably return inspired regardless of where I go. I begun this year with a trip to Los Angeles, then in April spent two weeks in Japan visiting Tokyo, Kanazawa, Osaka, and Nara. Then, I explored Birmingham and Atlanta in June and spent a week in New York in July. To cap off the year, I will spend ten days exploring Taiwan in December!
Accomplishments: I am also proud of that, in 2019, I won my first award (APA-IL’s Emerging Planner of the year) and became a published author (Belt Publishing’s second Chicago anthology includes my piece on Uptown’s history) – the experience even led to my first radio interview!
I’m tired just listing it out, but this isn’t even all of it. Other 2019 work I will announce in 2020, so stay tuned! Contact me for collaboration ideas and follow with what I’m up to on Instagram.