Journalism about Cities

Since the end of 2018, I have been working as a freelance journalist, writing about urban design, planning, and development, mostly in the DC area. My articles cover a range of topics, from mobility planning to gender inclusivity to development explainers.

Amman Volunteer Station Mapping

Riding public transit in Jordan can be very confusing.  Although buses run fixed routes, it is hard to learn what those routes are. Unlike in the US, the government does not publish official maps of the various bus routes, and almost no marking exists at street level.  The clearest indication of where a bus might be headed is usually a young man, leaning out of its door, hollering the name of the destination – but even then, intermediate stops are ignored.  Ma’an Nasel, a local nonprofit, has helped solved this problem by publishing خطوطنا / Our Lines, an unofficial map.  Volunteers rode buses, figuring out where they went, and the data was gathered and publicized.

Although Ma’an Nasel addressed this issue, to an extent, within Amman, the intercity Jordanian lines can still be quite mysterious to outsiders, particularly those who do not speak Arabic.  Seeing this opportunity to contribute, I collaborated with Ma’an Nasel and led a group of volunteers to gather information and produce maps of Amman’s major intercity stations.  I indexed the various lines radiating from the capital, gathering information on fares and hours of operation, and began synthesizing the information into user-friendly maps to assist Ammanis and visitors in making use of the country’s extensive intercity network.

To view a draft of the map of North Station  (the final versions will be produced in collaboration with an Amman-based graphic design firm), see this link.

Placemaking in Providence

As part of my work with Armory Development in Providence, I explored the post-industrial neighborhood along the banks of the Woonasquatucket River and developed a set of maps to help with placemaking in this unique urban environment.  Please take a look at the maps at This Link

In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

This quotation, which I found attributed to Henry David Thoreau in the writings of Aldo Leopold, is the name of the anthology I assembled.  This anthology is a collection of some of my favorite passages, and the passages that have most influenced me, from my readings on urbanism and geography in the past year.  It’s released Creative Commons, so please print copies as much as you’d like. I’d rather not say more, though, and let the collection speak for itself at this link.

Housing Code Violations in Providence

In the fall of 2016, I worked Professor Yesim Sungu-Eryilmaz at Brown University, along with data provided by the City of Providence and assistance from Professor Rachel Franklin, to analyze the spatial properties of recorded housing code violations in Providence, RI.

I hope that this will become an ongoing project, but at the end of last semester I assembled a finished product, or at least a draft of one: a poster and academic write-up for submission as part of my introductory GIS class with Prof. Franklin.  The poster is available here and the essay is available here.  Please contact me if you’re interested in any further details!

New York City in Arabic Poetry

In the fall of 2016, I wrote an essay for my Modern Arabic Poetry class about the city of New York in the work of Arab poets.  I discuss how Sa’adi Youssef, Adonis, and Amjed Nasser use New York metonymically to criticize the United States, relying on its concrete physical and social features to discuss abstract elements of American society.  Read the essay here (Arabic only).

Overlaps in Transportation

In April of 2016 I submitted, as my final project in my Modern Standard Arabic course, an analysis of the public transportation networks of Amman, Jordan.  I focused on the recent history of the system and the complexities resulting from the interplay of public, private, and nonprofit organizations.   This work eventually led me to return to Amman on a Fulbright grant, where I studied housing policy and walkability.

Find the essay at this link: overlaps-in-transportation.