The Big Picture

My ultimate goal is to enable people to collectively build projects of /degrowth in their communities that equitably distribute the challenges and collectively multiply the benefits of that transition in a time of /civilizational collapse.

Right now, I'm organizing for /livable cities and /mutual aid in my local area, am in the early stages of getting an artist cooperative off the ground, building my practical skill sets around /woodworking and /farming, and exploring /architecture as a profession to physically manifest change.

/now Stream

January 7, 2024

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The recent months have been very busy and unstructured, and have led to a minor case of burnout. A lot of time was spent on a large housing policy change in my city, though it didn't end up nearly as effective as I'd hoped. Many friends, who are fellow advocates and activists, are also running for city council. In the midst of all of this, I (and my partner) finally caught COVID in early December after avoiding it for almost 4 years.

Given all of this, I entered the new year feeling like I had just completed a hard reset. I'm settling into it without any real resolutions, but with a few general directions to move in. Part of what defined the last year for me was a constant urgency that wreaked havoc on my attention, pulling me in a hundred different directions. There's still real work to be done, but I need to do that work in a way that is more sustainable and enjoyable for me.

The first direction is to be moving towards doing fewer "categories" of things. I don't know exactly how this will manifest yet, but I'm a little burnt out on things like organizing roles and low-level computer /programming. I'm also missing other types of work, like /woodworking.

This leads me to my second direction, which is a bit more specific: I want to explore what it might mean to be an "architect". As I've struggled with the intersection of my interests, my nature, and the problems and needs of the world, it feels to me like architecture (in a broad sense) may be the field where I can make the biggest difference. I'm a holistic thinker with aesthetic, design, and engineering sensibilities, a trained game desginer and "coder", and I have a deep understanding of housing policy and urban development. I think that low-impact or /degrowth lifestyles can be enabled, encouraged, and enshrined in creative architecture, and humanity also needs a lot of reponsibly designed and sourced buildings as it continues to shrink its footprint through the energy and urbanization transitions.

The third direction is towards documentation. I built this website last year with the goal of sharing a lot of the things I've learned, both concrete and abstract, but have not made the space to actually get things out of my head and into documentation. Not doing this has been one of the biggest things eating away at me, and I'd like to be more intentional about carving out time for this.

So that's where I'm at. Do less, document more, and explore architecture as an intersection of my skills and interests and the needs of the planet and my neighbors.

October 22, 2023

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As per usual, the past six weeks have been incredibly busy. A large chunk of September was dedicated to organizing a downtown block party for World Car Free Day, which was a big success. I built some diy street barricades to help close the street, and we had a ton of neighbors turn out to celebrate.

Much of my time also continues to be dominated by the same /livable cities advocacy group, as we have become the primary group leading the grassroots conversation around policy changes needed to alleviate our city's housing crisis. With a comprehensive residential zoning overhaul in the works right now, there's not much time for other things.

I had some quiet time on a train recently, which I used to begin chipping away at a bare-minimum operating system for the coalescent computer, which I've nicknamed "lesceOS". It's been a good exercise to push the co assembler and toolchain a bit further, and get more practice writing my own language.

The art co-op is continuing to find its footing, and has not disappeared yet. We're starting to find some ways to bring in money to pay for rent, and I'm also learning about some of the types of situations that work better with delegated decision makers, vs needing consensus from 10 people.

September 5, 2023

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The summer has been incredibly busy. My /livable city advocacy group has had a lot of both engagement and disengagement, with city initiatives asking for our input and members being generally unavailable due to summer holidays. It continues to be a difficult line to walk as a volunteer based organization, where nobody is getting paid but success requires people to keep showing up.

Over the course of August, my partner and I stumbled into an opportunity to take over a large commercial space in the center of our Downtown as part of a collective of artists. There is huge potential for the space to be a much needed non-commercial hub of arts and activism, but organizing a bunch of strangers into creating a financially solvent space in such a short time frame is also a difficult task. We're hoping to establish a legal Co-op, and we'll see how it plays out.

Progress on the /coalescent computer moves in small bursts, though my time is increasingly dedicated to scheduling meetings and running agendas for volunteer and activist groups. It's hard to get a concrete feeling of forward movement, but it does generally feel like things are happening. I'd be lying if I didn't mention how frequently I wonder if I shouldn't move out to the country and focus my time on /farming, land stewardship, writing about /philosophy, and /programming, but that feels like giving up and running away.

Finally, we are not in imminent financial danger, but our lack of household income is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. I have been hoping to serendipitously find a way to generate a bare minimum of income while working on all of these projects towards a better world, but it doesn't seem to be happening. It's frustrating to feel like I need to pause one or more of my many important initiatives so that I can extract money from the economy, but sooner or later something is going to have to give.

I'll try to post smaller and more frequent updates in the future.

June 1, 2023

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I left my most recent salaried job in the Fall, and have been living off of savings while I put together plans for the next major phase of my life. I had saved a good amount of money in my 20s that I intended to use to put a down payment on a house, but the world (and the housing market) had other plans. I decided to "be the change", and dedicate my life completely to bringing about the economic and social shifts that the planet desperately needs.

From one angle, I've been building up a local grassroots advocacy group that focuses on the holistic thinking needed for livable, resilient, people-oriented cities. We've built up a distributed group of people who show up to city council meetings, meet with neighbors, and talk to reporters. We've pushed for parking reforms and have shaped local narrative around density and transit. In the future we hope to continue to organize and educate our neighborhoods on the need for intentional, dynamic, and fearlessly compassionate community, that welcomes new neighbors and lives within our "ecological means". Hopefully, we are just getting started.

At the same time, I am building real, practical skills for the future I want to live in. I have been developing my skills as a woodworker, doing my best to learn how to repurpose old materials, to favor hand tools, and to build for longevity. I am in my second year of volunteering at a local community farm which provides a no cost CSA to low-income or food-insecure folks. I aim to continue developing these skills and communicate them, to better distribute the knowledge of buiding and food production among my community.

Finally, I am working on a /permacomputing system inspired by natural complex systems called the Coalescent Computer. My hope is to develop a platform for social computing that allows communities to "fork and evolve" economic processes and knowledge systems for their local needs, while still gaining the computational benefit of code and data reuse.

I turn 30 this summer, and I think that I'm actually ready for it.