This site is mostly a meandering exploration of land and community and history, public space and architecture, permaculture and sustainability, social networks and social movements, health and wellbeing, critiques of neoliberalism and privatisation and the social and racial cleansing of our cities … along with thoughts about cities in general and how they are enmeshed in the fabric of a wilder world. An informal set of reflections to improve my research and theory, and a slightly embarrassed admission that I best assimilate information through writing about it and I often prefer that to television. I prefer writing to most things. You can see my fiction here.
It is also a collection of other things I love as they come along. Writing, wandering, getting out and finding the wilds on this island and elsewhere without driving and more…
I was born in Taos, New Mexico and grew up in what my dad called the nautilus house. My parents built it brick by adobe brick in Tucson’s Sonoran desert. We lost it after years of fighting banks and lawsuits to keep it, and I won a big fat scholarship to an elite liberal college on the East Coast in the same year. This probably explains everything.
In a working-class post college flounder I worked at K-mart, used my K-mart savings to live in Guadalajara, Mexico too briefly. I spent three years working with Central American refugees as a paralegal for the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles. Frustrated with law as a vehicle for change, I went to UCLA, then became an organizer and then the the lead organizer and researcher for SAJE: I organized tenants, reveled in popular education, uncovered slum housing empires, and helped create the Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust – now TRUST South LA. I cycled or took public transport everywhere. I was proud to be there at the inspiring beginnings of the national Right To the City Alliance, but burn out was unrecoverable. I sold fancy underwear in Glasgow for a while, and then helped get PM Press going for a few years, where I was also an editor of the noir Switchblade imprint with Gary Phillips. Every book we published was awesome, you should go buy all of them.
I was in London a good few years doing a PhD in Geography at the London School of Economics (now City of Segregation), fighting austerity in Brixton, helping build St Katharine’s Precinct in Limehouse. I WWOOFed briefly, doing some hands-on permaculture and working on smallholds. Now a part-time lecturer at the University of Salford, I am helping create a transformative organising training programme with NEON which will be amazing given the extraordinary talent they have brought together. I have blogged for the popular education website Dr. Pop, I’m an editor for the newly collectively run journal City as well as part of the Radical Housing Journal collective. I’m still writing fiction as well, and the world is golden when I find time for it.
I miss the desert.