Image from here.

Late 2019, after years and years of anxiety and awareness about the sustainability and human rights issues of the clothing industry, I finally did it: I quit fast fashion.

For almost a year now, I’ve not bought any fast fashion items. Not a single pair of pants, underwear, socks, sweaters, shirts, dresses, shoes, hats or gloves from your cheap main street stores or even cheaper online shops.

Every single new item I’ve purchased has either been

  • second hand
  • locally produced
  • locally owned
  • created from sustainable materials.

Image from here

The reason why I studied (and continue to learn about) spatial planning, urban development and design is simple: the climate crisis.

The climate crisis is a hugely accumulative issue that will only be efficiently mitigated with large-scale solutions — spatial planning being one of them.

The reason why I care about climate change is also simple: empathy towards all living things and the future of living things.

Caring for the climate crisis isn’t just caring for the environment

What I feel many don’t realise is that the climate crisis isn’t just something we do for the environment. As humans, we are completely dependent on nature. Not only is the natural environment…

Picture from RetreatGuru

Living in a city is as much about getting away from the city as it is being in it.

However, we don’t necessarily need to physically leave the city to get away — sometimes a mental de-attachment can be equally healing. The spaces and places around us can help to find this de-attachment.

The city as a spiritual practice has two sides:

  1. one stemming from the individual, and

1. Finding healing spaces in our cities

Taking care of our mental health and wellbeing is somewhat an individual responsibility. However, while healing ourselves can only…

BLM street in Washington. Source here.

From one crisis to another: which has been here all along.

Our social media feeds are filled with heart-warming and saddening quotes, violent videos we wish we didn’t see, black boxes, and on the educational side, threads teaching us about systematic racism, white privilege, and how to be actively anti-racist.

Yet, activity in social media has been criticised from all angles, and for good reasons. First, it’s a massive privilege to learn about microaggressions and not be experiencing discrimination first hand. Second, it’s a fair question to ask: how are we transforming the lessons, the quotes and the digital solidarity into tangible actions in our own lives?

I have a few…

I was watching a science documentary on Netflix, as you do on your average evening in the lockdown. A thought from one of the speakers struck my mind:

In science, it is common to spend seven years finding an answer to a question, only to realise you were asking the wrong question or that there was something wrong in the process.

This got me thinking. In the scientific community, it is generally accepted that most experiments and approaches for ‘finding the solution’ will fail. …

I got asked about sustainable clothing brands in New Zealand. Here are my gatherings from a nine-hour online shopping session.

Is online shopping sustainable?

Honestly? I don’t know.

My initial reaction is not. The number of things people buy online that ends up never being used just because the size or shape was odd and the shopper was too lazy to ship it back. Not to mention, the number of things than ends up being shipped back (shipping carbon footprint).

Shipping is one of the most polluting parts of the clothing industry’s carbon footprint.

Online shopping potentially increases the number of trips your garment…

This is how the air quality case study speaks for itself.

The similarities between response to COVID-19 and climate change are uncanny.

Global emergency. Unusual levels of global collaboration. Requiring urgent and radical action in policy-making. Demanding patience and changes in human behaviour today for the sake of better tomorrow. The need to listen to the scientists, whose advice has been long neglected, as the action would threaten growth. Involves politicisation. Abandoning the logic of the marketplace, and embracing public investment.

To me, these similarities between COVID-19 and climate change response are crystal clear. Yet, it is also clear why the topics differ.

This is a sensitive topic — but please have a listen.

It is a tad clumsy to compare the…

An Urbanist’s guide to quarantine

Aotearoa (New Zealand) begun its one-month lock-down last week. It is still unsure how long the lockdown will be — the following days will indicate whether the cases keep increasing or will the curve flatten. In this unknown, many are figuring our ways to cope inside. Here’s an urbanist’s survival guide to lockdown.

An urbanist’s guide to the lockdown period. Wellington, March 2020.

1. Drop the fear

Yes COVID-19 sucks. Yes, it is very dangerous for those in the risk group, and YES it is all of our social responsibility to protect those in the risks groups (i.e. treat those outside of our household like we have the virus). Yes, a pandemic is especially…

How will our future cities be shaped by a climate where social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, border measures, contact tracing and public health advice have been introduced to the basic vocabulary of your average lad? One positive thing about the pandemic: people are finally talking about cities in terms of health.

Photo: Oleksandr Polonskyi. Flickr 15 March 2020 (

While many cities across the globe have already experienced living in isolation for a matter of days, weeks, and months, the rest of the world is preparing for the same destiny.

Museums like National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Uffizi Gallery, Florence; and National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City; have already accommodated to culturally entertain people in strict quarantine (like Travel + Leisure viral blog post reported).

Exercise apps are offering free yoga classes for home practice. Food stores that still have products left after the panic-purchasing episode have never had such popular home deliveries. New…

Cityspiration — by Kia Carolina

Wellington-based urbanist. Life-long yogi. Feminist. Holistic wellbeing & healthy cities advocate. A person on a bike. Policy writer by day.

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