All posts filed under: Cities

Los Angeles – No to Measure S

Dear Friends in the City of Los Angeles, For those of you who are residents and are able to vote, there is a ballot measure to take an important stand against in next week’s local elections: Measure S. L.A. Times, Governor Brown, Mayor Garcetti, and many others have came out against this measure, (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) which will basically prohibit development in the City for the next two years and make it extremely difficult in the years after (to be explained below). For those of you that don’t know, the City of Los Angeles like the rest of California, is in the midst of a housing crisis. With a vacancy rate hovering around 2%, the supply of housing is extremely tight and housing costs are skyrocketing. What most people don’t realize is that at around $56,000, the median wage in Los Angeles is actually not that high, yet average home sale prices have now soared above half a million. That is lunacy. Renters are also suffering, with many paying more than 30% of …

The Bus (in America)

It’s always darker in here. There are days without light. Even those loud colors are subdued on the upholstery. Then there are the bangs, shocks and impacts, direct hits of the road rattling up backs and spines. Rain dampens the floor with sun baked crumbs, gums and who knows what left behind, left forgotten. — The morning swell through the doors of untold routines and responsibilities. These weary eyes and ears time for signs to disembark. Yes, all is trapped, on routes dictated by stops. Outside the window, single passengers throttle by. It struggles to navigate the sea of more nimble cars. It struggles to maintain a timely pace. — Waiting could mean five minutes or twenty, with a near miss. Sometimes, a short sprint is required. It doesn’t wait. A suit and tie is rare among sweaters and hoodies, just as an unwashed shirt always lingers in the corners. It’s a decisive non-decision, collectively by those whose only way to get somewhere, is trapped together with some bodies. – Fu Lien Hsu Oct 27, 2016

A Brief about Letters on Tuesdays

Dear Friends, Starting tomorrow, I will be posting a serials of short essays every Tuesday on a wide variety of topics in the format of letters to my little sister, Wilton. It will be an exploration and a reflection based on my various experiences over the last 27 years. It will also be a creative project to hone and expand my skills in communication and writing. If there is any topic or issue you want me to write about, don’t hesitate to let me know. I hope you will enjoy them! William

A Short About Policy Making

Have you ever wondered about the city you live in: its history, its planning, its development? The Guardian has an incredible 50-part series on the history of urbanization from around the world. The more you read about cities, the more they become a metaphor for life – patience, plans, foundations, and changes. Any sort of urban development can takes years and decades. The saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Furthermore, even the best laid plans can be easily swept aside by unforeseen circumstances or self-created consequences. Yet, without plans and goals, a city will cease to exist. Therein lies the paradox of urban planning (and of life) – each action results in an infinite possibility of reactions. You want to capture the current circumstances and anticipate future change, but it is always an impossibility. You create that which you hope to contain, and yet what you hope to contain is based on projections, assumptions, and visions that can easily fall apart in an instant… The building of cities always serves as an expression of the political …

Bakersfield Site Analysis

In January 2016, I was given the opportunity by Mr. Frank Tripicchio to work on a site analysis project on a property in Bakersfield, CA. The objective was to create recommendations on best uses for the property through demographic and economic analysis. To help me with this report, I brought on Oliver Yang, who worked with PKF Hospitality Consulting. The Project The site is located on the Southwestern corner of the intersection between Highway 178 and Comanche Dr., about 5 miles away from downtown Bakersfield. It is an undeveloped, five-acre parcel with two residential communities in the immediate area. I conducted spatial analysis with data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the City of Bakersfield to visualize the current building and zoning conditions in the area as well as the demographic distributions. We assessed community needs by looking at current services, businesses, and retail in the area and found a gap in the supply. As the site is fairly remote, there is a lack of businesses servicing the area. There are around 3000 residential rooftops in the surrounding …

Short Post: Biology and Life

I have been looking for a steady job now for almost a year now and one of the questions I get asked the most is why? Why am I pursuing or want to pursue a career in such and such? People really want to know where you are coming from and what your vision of the future is. Honestly, even though I know my answers, sometimes I have to look back to the beginning and ask myself why? Why am I now fascinated by the use of space in cities and urban environments? Why am I pursuing a career in understanding the urban? Like most stories, there is a beginning. As a young child, I was always chasing after butterflies, digging up earthworms, and collecting fish. Their movements and their features fascinated me. Metamorphosis, the transformation from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, captivated my imagination and in many ways it is a metaphor for life. I never though much of it until high school, where I met a wonderful biology teacher by the …