Embracing Complexity Politics

What Matters in a Political Leader, 2021

I’m cross-posting here so that you can find all of my writing in one place. Please visit the South Seattle Emerald to read the full essay.

As an immigrant from an increasingly oppressive state, make no mistake — I love getting to have elections.

But I sure hate election season.

I used to feel ignorant when pundits confidently dissected policy points. Over time, I grew frustrated as experience showed me that the pundits are often oversimplifying. This year, a new emotion is joining the mix: longing.

What if choosing leaders felt more like the sacred collective experience it could be? Less like patriotic duty and more like a patriotic harvest?

Continue reading at The Emerald

Paradise for Productivity

Image of an Amazon Sphere building at night

This is one of two essays that I wrote in Charles Mudede’s Writing the City class at the Hugo House in 2018. I didn’t quite know what to do with it then. I’d submitted it to a few places and they didn’t want it. So, fuck it, I’m publishing it here, without edits, in late 2021, back-dated to when I’d first written it. This assignment was to write about the Spheres—what they will tell us, when they are the only remnants of Seattle in some apocalyptic future, about this city that we live in.

Here’s a term I first learned in landscape architecture school: “effortless fascination”. The rustling of leaves, the babbling of brooks, the fluttering of snowflakes—these things captivate us, lift our minds out of the stresses that otherwise hold our attention. Nature restores us through hypnosis.

I’m thinking about effortless fascination as I take in the still-life composition inside one of the Amazon Spheres. A dazzling canopy of stage lights bathes an inert forest, thick with rustle-free leaves, glued inside a flutter-free snow globe.

Continue reading “Paradise for Productivity”

In support of inefficiency

I’m cross-posting this older essay here so that you can find all of my writing in one place. Please visit Crosscut to read the full essay.

In discussing the merits of urban growth, we sometimes forget to distinguish between two very different kinds of density: efficient and inefficient density.

Contrary to some expectations, only inefficient density will result in the long-lived, rich cityscape described by urban advocates.

Continue reading at Crosscut