Eggs & Experts: Cuba’s Uncertain Economic Future

Where are the eggs? Challenges in Cuba’s economic development On my taxi ride from Havana’s airport, I passed by a run-down building where thousands of egg cartons lay visibly stacked on the floor. These eggs sat in an open-air, visible from the street, unrefrigerated building on a hot Caribbean island. Counterintuitively, this was the first sign of the egg shortage in Havana, eggs being a … Continue reading Eggs & Experts: Cuba’s Uncertain Economic Future

Building with Big Cats in Mind

Most of us like animals. Maybe not spiders or rats (those poor guys get a bad rap), but adorable bobcats or soaring eagles? Something in these creatures captivates us in an often-unconscious way. This intrigue comes from our biophilia, or ‘love of life,’ which refers to the innate tendency of humans to be drawn to other life forms. Not only do we feel an affinity … Continue reading Building with Big Cats in Mind

Reflections on a Prague Bazaar

“Now that I am far from her, perhaps forever, I catch myself wondering whether Prague really exists or whether she is not an imaginary land like the Poland of King Ubu. Yet every night in my dreams I feel the pavement of the Old Town Square underfoot, stone by stone. I often go to Germany and gaze from afar, like the student Anselmus from Dresden, … Continue reading Reflections on a Prague Bazaar

Urban Photography Series: Santiago, Chile

Santiago’s urban form has been heavily influenced by the starkly different political eras Chile has endured throughout its modern history as a nation state. From Salvador Allende’s “La vía chilena al socialismo” (“The Chilean way to socialism”), to the brutal Pinochet regime that followed, and into the contemporary democratic Chile of today, the city’s urban character reflects the aesthetic and social priorities of each era. … Continue reading Urban Photography Series: Santiago, Chile

Revisiting the Right to Housing

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently made headlines by declaring that “housing rights are human rights.” His statement came on the heels of the Liberal government’s unveiling of Canada’s National Housing Strategy, notable in its embrace of a rights-based approach to housing. Prior to last week’s announcement, Canada was the only major industrialized nation in the world to lack a nationally coordinated housing strategy.1 Canada’s … Continue reading Revisiting the Right to Housing

One Year Later: Reflections on the Habitat III Conference

Every 20 years since 1976, the United Nations has convened an international “Habitat” conference to develop a unified global vision for the future of urban development. These conferences provide opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and civic leaders to come together to exchange knowledge and best practices to help inform more effective urban development. And like other counterpart UN conferences, they have invited non-technical actors the opportunity … Continue reading One Year Later: Reflections on the Habitat III Conference

Envisioning an Active City: Lessons from Montréal

Oh, Canada. The United States’ neighbor to the North seems to have public services down to a science. On a recent trip to Montréal, Quebec, my suspicions of superior public amenities were confirmed as seen in the city’s compact urban design and nearly flawless transportation infrastructure. Montréal and other Canadian cities embrace the principles of smart growth with dense urban centers and transit-oriented development, and this … Continue reading Envisioning an Active City: Lessons from Montréal