Cities

Changing habitats as a constant in life

Since I was young, I had a fixation on cities. Even if I lived in a town and only visited San Sebastian, Salamanca and Paris until being 13, I was passionate about city maps and transit systems. Therefore, ever since I have been able to decide where to live, I have done so in cities, trying to change between them as much as possible and learn the most from each and every city.

In all those metropolises, what fascinates me more is the ability to keep walking and walking as if there was never an end to it. In fact, I did keep track of my strolls in Barcelona, as shown in the map, to see what else to discover. As you may see, there is a lot to be done.

Barcelona

September 2013 – June 2016
January 2018 – January 2019 

Barcelona was the first city I moved into. Being far from home meant an opportunity to reinvent myself, and having so many inputs from both the architecture school and the student hall I was living in would help me to do so.

Indeed, the student hall was the place where I learnt what living in a community meant. In my hometown I was never involved in any neighborhood community or similar, so the student hall meant a group of 400 I was somehow linked to, and I could work on behalf of. We did so by proposing a new design and location for the architecture study room, which was finally built as we proposed.

But, above all, Barcelona was and still is a neverending scenery to discover. It is a pleasure to just walk on the streets of this city and find surprises in any corner. To keep track of such discovery, I started marking the streets I had been to in a map, showing that there is still a lot to discover.

 

Paris

August – September 2015 

Despite being an extremely short experience, the stay in Paris is worth explaining. It was a place of first times: first time living alone and working at an architecture office.

This moveout was extremely fast: I was looking for an architecture office in France to work as an intern for the summer, my goal being learning French rather than working itself. Suddenly, I was contacted by the office I worked at just three days before I started, so I rushed to Paris for a great experience.

Once there, apart from working on some nice projects, I had the opportunity to discover the whole city in my own pace, as a flaneur that has nothing else to do but to keep walking.

Chicago

August 2016 – December 2017 

It took some time to make ‘The Windy City’ my own, but it ended up feeling like home, a place to come back. I had the chance to go to Chicago thanks to a Full tuition grant to study for a year at IIT, and I will never be grateful enough for such experience that signified a major change in life.

The fact of changing continents is shocking in many ways: it raises the awareness on how European countries are much more similar between them than it is thought. However, I was also lucky enough to find myself in a global environment, with people from all around the world. Therefore, I learnt not only from the US, but it also opened my mind to the rest of the world.

However, being in Chicago made me learn clearly what social division is. Chicago is a completely divided city, with a wealthy, safe and predominantly white North Side, and a poor, high on crime and mainly black South Side. Living in the former and studying in the latter made me realize how disinvestment and inequality were leaving the South Side and its inhabitants behind.

Therefore, as I heard someone in Chicago say, in the States the ceiling is higher, but the floor is also much lower, given that the system is ruthless with those who do not thrive. 

Berlin

June – August 2018

Once again, I had the chance to work abroad for the summer, and this time too, the main goal was to improve another language – German. Although that was maybe the only thing I did not do, it was a wonderful experience – in a city that is a showcase of history, a perfect transit metabolism and a paradise for young people.

It turns out that I had to walk down Bernauerstrasse, following the former trace of the wall, every single day. It is a pleasure to see how history is kept alive in Berlin, while it vanishes so easily in many other cities.

However, what was most amazing in Berlin was the efficiency with which transit systems are managed, doing a lot with not that many resources. It is easy to cross the city, thanks to the perfect comination of S and U-Bahn, and it is still impressive how the city can manage so many flights in such small airports. 

In addition, Berlin is a great city to be at as a young professional. Bustling with people both during day and night, it offers so much to enjoy: from its parks and riveredges full of activity in the summer, to art and music venues.

 

Madrid

February 2019 –  ?

Hours after I have submitted the Degrees’ Final Thesis this webpage is meant for, I am travelling towards a new experience in Madrid. It will be my hometown for the next six months, and as many experiences as in other cities await.