Tag Archives: technology

“Nothing interests humans more than other humans”

I’ve been reading a wonderful book about urban planning called Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream.

Suburban Nation
The cover to the book “Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream.”

In this politely harsh critique on the idiosyncrasies of modern attitudes towards city building and the backwards promises of suburbia, Andres Duany and his team write one sentence in particular that could easily sum up the main problem with suburban living:

Nothing interests humans more than other humans.

I’m sure you’ve seen images like the one here before.

An image from a webpage of the Montclair Film Festival that accompanies a series entitled “Coming Of Age In Suburbia.”

Cookie-cutter homes, sometimes all built exactly alike, placed along winding “community” roads that don’t really lead anywhere. These “communities” promise high standards of living sometimes afforded by 24-hour security personnel, reliable maintenance staff paid for by money-hungry homeowner’s associations, and most importantly, a peace of mind that only a staid arrangement of homes, homes and more homes could offer.

But the negatives in these communities outweigh the positives. I see this happen even in a highly populated city like Miami, whose outlying suburbs – Kendall, Miami Lakes, Cutler Bay – cause traffic jams daily as commuters travel increasingly longer distances than they should to get back home from their jobs in the city.

Traffic is only part of the problem, though. The very idea of people jumping into their cars, tuning out the world until they enter the safety of their gated home within their gated community, is one that’s tearing us apart as a society.

In Suburban Nation, Duany explains that suburbia grew out of a mid-20th century distaste with dirty and cramped inner cities whose factories, sweatshops and tenements were but infant children of the Industrial Revolution. “Inner-city living” became a phrase befitting of people who couldn’t afford to live somewhere nicer.

Nowadays, the opposite is true, with people paying premiums to live in city centers even if the extant appeal of suburbia has blighted them into a shell of what they used to be.

Downtown Miami and its surrounding neighborhoods are great examples.

A shot of Brickell, a Miami neighborhood, at night.

A formerly bustling area at all hours of the day, Downtown Miami is now a vagrant-ridden ghost town after 6pm. However, condominiums in and around the area are commanding insane prices that most of Miami’s population can’t even afford.

Why is that? Because the urban renaissance is upon us. People don’t want to live ten, twenty, thirty miles from their jobs or from places of entertainment, for that matter. The city life is the new chic, with the ability to walk to everywhere becoming the new way to live. Cities themselves are way cleaner and more attractive than they used to be when suburbia became a thing, meaning “inner-city living” is fast becoming something cool.

City Life
Best part of living in the city? Taking to any high roof and feeling like Batman.

The most appealing factor of that city life chic, however, is indeed the fact that it’s so easy to interact with other humans. When people are able to walk to the majority of their daily destinations, they naturally encounter a greater amount of other humans than if they were to drive everywhere. Think about running into your friends or colleagues at a bar on your way to the grocery store, jumping into a fitness class at the park on your way back from work.

We need to ask ourselves, then: what do we really qualify as a high standard of living? For me, living in a gated community where there’s nothing to do is the exact opposite of a high living standard. Being able to meet new people simply by stepping outside my living quarters is a much more appealing lifestyle, and for obvious reasons, it’s also a much more sustainable one: think about how many pedestrians fit into the space taken up by a single automobile.

Suburbia, Duany and his team ultimately conclude, is a failed experiment that catered to specific circumstances of its time but ultimately did not deliver on its promise of better living. People love people, and putting up dividing walls, fences and gates between neighbors is not the way to promote that.

What do you think about living in suburbia versus living in the city? Let’s talk!



Don’t throttle my dreams

I don’t want my dreams to be throttled by a broken immigration system, by my parents’ forced response to a decaying Argentine economy at the turn of the century, by the inability of a Congress to provide for its most promising citizens. In the grand scheme of the world and its history, these details will either be forgotten or underappreciated; the frustrating paralysis caused by them belittled or ignored in the face of what could’ve been but never was.

TRAILER for Inglorious Motorists

Driving around a dilapidated warehouse section of Miami a few days ago, I stumbled upon Alejandro Garduño riding his custom built motorized bicycle. As some of you might know, I tried my hand at daily-driving a motorized bicycle, but that was an electric build – a decently sleek one at that, if I do say so myself.

Garduño, however, has gone the way of gasoline in choosing his steed. I had to pull him over and talk to him about his whip, and maybe begin a conversation about and an investigation into the world of motorized bicycles in Miami.

Are they motorcycles? Are they bicycles? Are they safe? Are they legal? And perhaps most importantly – are they fun!

I hope to answer all these questions and more in my upcoming project, heretofore titled Inglorious Motorists.

Hope you enjoy the trailer!

Cycle 305 – Episode 1: The Bike

Hello everyone! I’m starting a new series called Cycle 305 where I’m going to take you with me on a bunch of bicycle rides that I do regularly – everything from going to work to hanging out with friends – as well as talk to you about the subtleties of the bicycle lifestyle and how they’ve impacted my life.

In this first episode, I talk about my ’87 Trek 330 and its custom features.

Let me know what you think! I hope to keep up the with series with at least one vlog a week.

Drone company launches afterschool academy

The U.S. government, Amazon, and even kids around your neighborhood are all using or thinking about using drones for military, commercial or recreational purposes.

In August of this year, the FAA issued a 624-page publication detailing Part 107, the agency’s answer to the sprawling and until then unregulated popularity of drones across the United States. The legislation allows individuals to obtain drone aviation certifications that would allow them to fly for commercial purposes, opening up the door to substantial financial opportunities that were previously inaccessible.

Now, a South Florida-based company called Soaring Sky, which has been flying drones since 2014, wants to jump on the education bandwagon and help middle and high school students get the skills they need to take advantage of this rapidly growing industry.

Continue reading Drone company launches afterschool academy