Readers,

Your Urban Geographer is now based in Amsterdam: living in and thinking about the vastly urbanized Netherlands. There is no wilderness in the Netherlands. Rural areas are carefully managed and occupy a small space between one city and another, especially in the Ranstad (the Dutch conurbation consisting of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, Utrecht and the towns, suburbs and farms in between – they function as one huge city).

Beyond walking with my head up, alert and vibing, I will be up to a number of projects that might peak your interests in urban geography. They’ve certainly peaked mine.

❍ I am interning at Golfstromen, an urban design/marketing/creative firm based in Amsterdam Noord. They are the folks responsible for the blog the Pop-Up City, and I will be writing for them, and researching some projects. I also will, hopefully, design and implement some sort of “urban intervention” with a fellow intern and interaction designer. More on that later… For now, expect cross posting from the Pop-Up City about various projects, books and creative works that use urban space in some novel way.

❍ I am also, possibly, going to be “interning” with the Mobiators. Their Mobiation project involves a house that can fold-up into itself, becoming a small box. The Moby 1 is currently situated in a small park in Watergraafsmeer, a small suburb just outside of Amsterdam. The structure is lovely, equipped with large windows, an elevated bed, a wood stove, and three cute dogs. Calanne and Geert are inspiring, honest, and creative folk, who I look forward to helping out.

❍ Straight-vibing. Amsterdam is a beautiful, pleasant city. A lot of thought has gone into the design of this place, and I look forward to simply experiencing it. Dutch design may not be as efficient as German or Japanase, but it has a certain humanity to it, a cozy familiarity that is easy to get used to. I have already biked around a large part of this city, experiencing it at cycle-speed. I live in Rivierenbuurt in the Zuid (south), and must travel through the entire city to work in Amsterdam Noord, which is just across the IJ from Centraal Station. I have to take a quick ferry to get to North – and it is a whole different world up there. 10 minutes from bustling Central Amsterdam, it is quiet, rural-feeling, in a post industrial way. My internship is located in a building full of architects and designers, and I look forward to exploring the creative scene in Amsterdam from this vantage point. Biking through Rivierenbuurt is also quite lovely: it is built with an approchable grandiose-ness. Its monotonous form undulates gracefully as it repeats itself. It is best experienced by bike: slicing through the repetitive architecture creates a lovely swelling effect.

I feel fortunate to have these two ways of experiencing this city: the fancy design and marketing world of Golfstromen, and the anti-capitalist, DIY ethos of the Mobiators.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts about Amsterdam with you, readers, formally through the Pop-Up City, and informally through posts on the Urban Geographer.

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