Urban Planning

Moscow, August 2013

Moscow, August 2013

This August I went to Moscow for the first time in over a year. I was there to help my grandmother move, a move necessitated in part by the fact that my sister, Masha, is leaving the country after twenty years. Masha is leaving the country because she is gay, and the Russian parliament, with the full support of the Kremlin, has decided that gay people are what’s wrong with Russia. A recent law even suggested that gay couples who had adopted could be stripped of parental rights; Masha adopted her son Vova twelve years ago. It was time to go.

Ponte City

Ponte City

People from Johannesburg might be fearmongers and lunatics, but we’re not mere fearmongers and lunatics: there’s a story to how Ponte came to earn its jittery status. To begin with the end, the inner city is, at present, slowly moving back into money again. It’s been at the task haltingly for a decade or so, but gentrification is reaching the point of inevitability now.

Christmas in Baltimore 2009

Christmas in Baltimore 2009

The funeral came off without a hitch, in spite of the snow. It was as dignified as we could have hoped for and no one from the altar mentioned what had happened. I parked my rental car on Argyle Avenue, feeling a bit more alert than usual. In Atlanta, just after Thanksgiving, two gunmen robbed me of my station wagon and wallet; two days before Christmas I didn’t want to invite fate’s wrath a second time. I was back home in Baltimore.