Archive for the ‘Urban Plannings’ Category


Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Here I am at the airplane station. It is early and it is also very sunny. I am going to some interviews in the California. Yesterday I bought myself a new fancy slacks suit at the Banana Republic and now I am sitting here with the rest of the professionals who are traveling to Dallas, Texas on their way to San Jose, California. How did I get here? /jec is driving down from SF for dinner and maybe we will practice interview questions like, How was your stop in Dallas, Texas? Do you love San Jose? Why or why not? Can you create a rush-hour skip-stop bus schedule for a 3-mile downtown corridor with 10,000 boardings at Station A, 3,000 alightings at Station B, and a passenger who can’t find their transit pass? The San Jose question is a real brain teaser.

In other news, I received an award from Penn. It’s called the Martin Meyerson Award for Public Service in the Profession. I think it’s awarded to the only person in our class who actually wants to work in the public sector instead of making money at a private firm. If going into public service means becoming JSK then this is the best award in the world. I feel great. I should email her and let her know. Oh, speaking of which, a bunch of students went to a conference last week and guess who was there? My bff herself, JSK. And my friend Raman went up to her and was like Hey wanna be besties? And then he brought her a glass of wine and then they had breakfast together the next morning. That statement sounds misleading. But he said the entire time he was trying to figure out how to tell JSK to hire me while they were hitting it off, but all he could come up with was, Need another glass of chianti?

Boston Recap

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Here we are. All smiling with our mouths open.

More photos here. And by more photos I mean photos of Andy and my food plates.


Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I am on the megabusycle back to philadelphia from the American Planning Association (APA) Conference in Boston. I am tired  and dehyradtaed and behind on my homework but I handed out five business cards and shmoozed with the APA CEO at the reception and he recognized me from my Aruba presentation and I felt famous (duh). We stayed with Aunt Daphne and Uncle Paul and this made me happy and they let us borrow their car for the weekend because the train schedule did not have high enough frequency to match our travel needs for attending 7:15am conference programs such as “Building Community with Porches” and “Smart Growth with Dumb Residents.” Just kidding I made those up but really one was called “When Public Participation Goes Terribly Wrong.” I didn’t go but it sounds exciting right? Insults! Threats! Standing up and shaking of fists!

Planners are casual and most people wore tucked in buttons downs and jeans but I wore my fancy slacks so people wouldn’t think I was a graduate student browsing for jobs but this only lasted until they said what do you do and I said I’m a graduate student browsing for jobs. That’s not true. I told them I’m the president of the Penn Urban Transportation Club and then handed them my card and winked.

The real success is that after the entire conference was over Karen and I had two hours to kill before our megabus and so we walked over to the Madewell on the Newbury Street and I bought myself a purple dress. I think that’s the real take-away here. Are peeople still reading this post? SarahSweeter doesn’t like the ones with a lot of words, but I haven’t uploaded photos yet so instead I google image searched “when public paricipation goes horrible wrong.” City Planning looks rough.

Spring Break 2011!!

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Ok ready it is Spring Break apparently and for our studio trip we went to Aruba Washington DC! Two days before the trip our studio instructor was like zomg guys guess what I just got called in to be on a jury for a murder trial I can’t go to Washington DC acsweet can you take over? kthanksbye!

So there we were. An orphaned studio group in Aruba Washington DC and there I was on the phone with Planning Directors being like Hieeee it’s Alex k’we come over? And they were like totes we’ll show you some powerpoint presentations and we were like omg we lovelovelove powerpoint presentations!  So we met with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the Montgomery County Planning Department and the Akridge Developers and the Washington DC Office of Planning and the Arlington County Department of Community Planning Housing and Development and then we fainted. We mostly talked about Transit Oriented Development.We mostly ate Indian Food.

Here’s a photo of a Transit Oriented Development called Gallery Place.
Omg a TOD

Here’s a photo of me fainting.
Spring Break is exhausting.

And here’s a photo of Ma Sweet’s new couch in Sweechigan. Everybody’s winning really.
Ma Sweet's new couch

More photos here!

The Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Conference, or, Old Men in Suits

Monday, January 24th, 2011

City Planning Holiday Party Extravaganza

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

I had a great time. Andy was less enthusiastic. More photos here.

A City Planning Holiday Party

Lunch with Important and Wealthy Old People

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The Dean’s office invited me to the PennDesign Board of Overseer’s Quarterly Luncheon what? It was today. So I put on some high heels and a woool skirt and sat down at a table with three Board Members including one woman who “began her career as a researcher, working on the Hubble Space Telescope and then on fusion energy projects at the Naval Research Laboratory and in Japan at Toshiba’s energy science and technology laboratory.” Apparently she did not even go to Penn but likes to sit on boards for fun. That was a tough conversation to start. and finish.

Then I met a woman who graduated from my planning program and lives in the NYC and I said I want to be there and work for my bff Janette Sadik-Kahn!! and she goes OKAY what you need to do is get yourself a portfolio mmk? and a make list of firms where you want to work mmk? and a polished resume mmk? and you need to go have a sit-down with your Dean mmk? because she knows EVERYBODY. And I was like YA! And she was like YA! And then we shook hands and then I marched over to the buffet table and took 5 left-over sandwiches back to studio because networking makes me HUNGRY.

The end.

how did that happen

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Studio Midterm Reviews

After being awake for 31 hours I presented my Aruba Midterm Design Proposal to 7 critics who gave me glowing reviews. This was great news. The better news is that I did not black out during my presentation which means that 31-awake-hours in now my new tactic for giving stellar presentaitons and avoiding the panic attacks.

After the presentation my professor gave me a fist bump. He is not the type to fist bump. This was confusing. Later during snack break time he tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to my board and said you worked hard on that and I said yes, and he said, well it shows. And then he smiled at me. He is not the type to smile. This was confusing but also satisfying and so I ate a bag of M&Ms and took photos of the rest of the presenters (photos pending) and then drank two marteenees and then biked home (somehow) and then after 40 hours of nosleeps went to sleep.

And now I am awake but also kind of in a coma because my body is confused but my mind is happy and so I say to my body YAY I LOVE BIKES and I bike to work but my body is like this hurts can we stop? And I’m like sorry no we have to go to the school and keep learning here is a bottle of coffee and two kit-kat bars.

The end.

What a dream.

Sunday, October 24th, 2010


Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Yesterday was our first presentation, or Critique (more affectionately known as “Crit”) for our Aruba Studio Course. The class is divided into five teams. Each team is assigned a project site on the island in one of the two cities, Oranjestad (the capital) or San Nicholas (a village at the Southern tip). At the conclusion of this semester we must produce a comprehensive plan for each city and hand it over to the Aruba Prime Minister. I am in the group developing the plan for downtown Oranjestad.

Yesterday’s presentation was an analysis of the current conditions of our sites and a synthesis of the primary issues and associated design implications. Each team made 6-7 presentation boards. Over the three preceding days the average hours of sleep for each person was 3. We went first and, per usual, I introduced and concluded our presentation and had approximately three panic attacks. I may or may not have blacked out again during the conclusion. Fortunately, the majority of the crit is focused on the content of the boards and the graphic representation of our analysis, rather than our oral presentation and subsequent stuttering, fluttering, and fainting.

That’s the new title of my autobiography, by the way.  ACSweet: How I Stuttered, fluttered, and fainted my way through grad school.

The end.