Journalism, blogging and copywriting on all things urban

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About Me

Hello! My name is Laura and I am a freelance writer and journalist. After studying urban planning and political sciences, I decided to turn my passion into my profession by writing about topics like sustainable urban development and future cities.

As an urban dweller and blogger for parCitypatory, I have long been fascinated by topics of urban development. My favourite topics to write about are participation, environment, sustainable urban planning and the Agenda 21. I also focus on solutions-oriented reporting.

I am working as a consultant for the Sustainable Development Goal 11 of the United Nations: “Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. In this capacity I have worked with NGOs in different countries and started the city partnership project cdmXberlin between Mexico City and Berlin. 

At the same time, I am an urban journalist and use writing as a tool to bring more attention to topics of urban development. Get in touch for creative, solutions-oriented articles on all things urban.

A few facts about me

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I will work for you in English or German. I also speak very good Spanish and good French.

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My favourite book?
“The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I am currently located in Mexico City, but since most of my clients are located in Europe, I am used to working in different time zones. 

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My favourite quote?
“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody” (Jane Jacobs)

I work location-independently as a digital nomad and travel around a lot. However, I really enjoy working from a home office.

My favourite city?
Vancouver is ranking high in terms of liveability, but I also love London, Mumbai and Galway.

What I offer

Urban Content

I love writing about the urban development. Sustainability, climate change, green and smart cities, public space, social cohesion and neighbourhood planning are some of my specialties. My clients ask me to write for their blogs, real estate magazines, city websites and newspapers.

These are some topics I could write about for you:

How does my city implement the Sustainable Development Goal 11?

Which important steps has my city taken in its urban development in the last years?

How can I contribute to making my city greener, more sustainable and more liveable?

What are the opportunities of smart city technologies in terms of citizen participation? 

Journalistic articles

I love getting creative and telling stories. As a member of the Solutions Journalism Network, I am always on the lookout for interesting solutions to urban challenges.

Blog articles

As a reliable person, I always deliver before deadline and am happy to blog about cities for you. Explaining complex contexts and correlations to a broad audience is one of my strengths. I also have a good knowledge of content management systems like WordPress.

SEO and City  Marketing

Every city is special, but city marketing is an art. With my SEO-friendly articles I help to present your city from its best and most interesting side.

Workshops

I organise participatory workshops and exercises in your city. Citizen participation and modern methods for contributing to urban planning are crucial for future cities. As an urban journalist, I will also report about workshops, thus informing citizens about sustainable initiatives and activities. 

Kind words from clients

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“Laura has been very helpful in updating our website, giving us SEO tips and making our company look more attractive to potential clients.”

Peter, Aztec Explorers

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“Great work, Laura! We loved your contributions about Ghana to our city solutions network urb.im.”

Carlin, Dallant

Portfolio

Urban Informality in Times of Crisis: The Need for More Resilience in Informal Settlements

While the focus on how Western cities deal with the Covid-19 crisis dominates our media, it is crucial to also analyse the situation in the Global South. Although the virus is not as widespread in the Southern Hemisphere, according to what we know, some of the poorest people are suffering the worst consequences.

Mexico: Using Superheroes for Risk Communication in Times of Coronavirus

Risk communication is crucial in a pandemic. In Mexico, a new superhero has been invented to encourage the whole population to respect the rules of social distancing. The cartoon character SuSana Distancia is a good example of successful risk communication.

Is Gentrification Becoming a Problem in Guatemala City?

Recently, I visited Guatemala City — a capital that is often disregarded in comparison to other gems like Antigua Guatemala or Lake Atitlán. While these are truly beautiful, I think it is also worthwhile to consider to case of the capital city. Since I was not able to contact project managers of the place I will be talking about (4 Grados Norte), I will use various newspaper sources, online comments and personal impressions of myself, but also of locals I talked to in Guatemala City, as sources.

I stayed in an AirBnB in Guatemala City, close to its centre, that consisted of a whole building owned by AirBnb. This was a first hint at the gentrification slowly taking over Guatemala City — high prices might be another one. AirBnB is apparently getting active as a real estate investor. It proudly exhibits some pictures of how the building used to look before they bought it and turned it into a space for visitors.

Reviving the City: How an Asphalt Plant Turned Into a Public Park

In Mexico City, residents organised to convince the city government to build a public park instead of developing an area for office buildings. The Parque Imán can serve as an example for successfully greening neighbourhoods, and reclaiming public space in a participatory and transparent manner.

Mexico City might be known internationally for many things, such as criminality, air pollution and heavy traffic. Recently, it has been gaining a reputation for more positive aspects such as efforts undertaken to green the city and to improve air quality.

Having lived in this bustling metropolis for two months now, as an urban development student it struck me that the city has a special talent maybe unknown beyond its boundaries: the redevelopment and regeneration of public spaces.

Please Stay Inside

Delhi’s air quality endangers the health of its citizens, so innovative strategies are needed to regulate pollution.

“Children, sick and elderly persons are advised to stay inside.” I read this sentence in the paper every single day while I was in Delhi for a few weeks last year. Only afterwards did I learn that Delhi suffered record air pollution levels in autumn 2015. But I could feel the stress on my lungs every time I went outside. In the end, I took to wearing a scarf over my nose and mouth because my lungs started to hurt from all the filtering they had to do.

What is happening in India’s capital? In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) gave Delhi the questionable “title” of the world’s most polluted city. Pollution levels are even worse than in China. Especially in winter, small particles fill the air, making it hard to breathe. Causes of this air pollution are manifold and include car exhaust, diesel generator fumes, biomass burning in the city (i.e. firewood for cooking, but also waste), dust in dry weather, and smoke when the surrounding states burn their crop residues. Festivals like Diwali in November with their infinite and omnipresent fire crackers do their part in polluting India’s air as well.

Re-defining La Mariscal in Quito Through Neighbourhood Engagement

How to revive an urban neighbourhood that has become nothing more than a place to work?

La Mariscal is one of Quito’s more affluent districts with a lot of international hotels, offices, and restaurants. However, as soon as business hours are over, the district is as good as dead and the public spaces are not safe any more. Once constructed as a garden city, some of the beautiful old villas are still there, while in between many new high rise buildings for government and private offices have been built. However, there is still a lot of beauty and potential in La Mariscal. In recent years, not least powered by Habitat III taking place a few walking minutes away, there have been some changes for the better. Thanks to Fabrica Ciudad, I took part in a tour of the district and learned about a few of the innovative projects going on to revive this city.

Geographic portfolio

These are the cities I have been to and feel most comfortable writing about. I have spent the most time in Berlin, Manchester, Mexico City, New Delhi and Addis Ababa. I am always discovering new cities, looking for the most interesting activities and tactical interventions. I’d love to put your city into words, too!

My professional timeline

Now

Since 2018: Combination of my two passions: writing and cities. I am an urban journalist and have written for Urbanet, the Urban Media Lab, Medium, Topos, sub/urban and other publications.

2020: Solutions Journalism Network Fellowship

2019-2020: UN Habitat / SDSN Pathways Fellow

The past years

From 2018 to 2019, I was the project manager for cdmXberlin – a city partnership project between Berlin and Mexico City

In 2017, I completed my M.Sc. Global Urban Development and Planning degree in Manchester, UK

In 2016, I founded parCitypatory and have been blogging on the platform since.

In 2016, I attended the Urban Journalism Academy at HABITAT III in Quito, Ecuador

The start

 2012 – today: copywriting for companies such as ImmoScout24 and many blogs in the areas of urban planning, surveying, architecture, real estate and tourism 

2011-2014: B.A. Political Science at Free University Berlin and student assistant for the Environmental Policy Research Centre in Berlin, Germany

 

Work with me!

Your website or blogs needs articles on urban topics? You are looking for an urban journalist for your magazine or online newspaper? You are looking for e-books, SEO copy or articles on topics like urban planning, future cities, smart cities and sustainability?

Get in touch with me at laura@textsandthecity.org and I will make you an offer! Pricing depends on the extent of research and the kind of contribution you are looking for. I am happy to offer you a flatrate for regular contributions. 

I look forward to getting to know you and your city!

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