Hello, I’m Fei!
I explore the successes of cities old and new through the lens of a sustainable and beautiful human existence on Earth. My main tool for exploration is through my writing and note-taking. Welcome to my home online.
MY BEST PIECES ON CITIES
the beauty in simple rules
at the intersection of “prescriptive” and “proscriptive” laws
why suburban and urban dreams conflict
From independence to interdependence, and the fundamental problem with ownership
single-tier fares do not work for expansive transit networks
and why I changed my mind about this
MY BEST PIECES ON WRITING
the essence of the Zettelkasten method, demystified
it’s not about the medium or method, but the mentality
if you’re dissatisfied with your writing, do this to get out of your funk
This is the advice I wish I had heard when I first started writing in earnest 6 months ago
the dirty lil secret about my note-taking system
a state of affairs as of May 2022
Almost all of my initial writing happens off-site on Twitter and over at my newsletter, which you can subscribe to below:
It took me over a decade of preparing myself to write in earnest. This is how it all began:
“You have an interesting point of view, Fei-Ling. Please do not stop exploring this in your work.“
This was my Professor van Dam, leaving me with some parting words during a design crit. I don’t remember which project this was, or what class it was for. (And in hindsight I’m sure he gave a similar form of assurance to all his students!)
Younger me was very uncomfortable and awkward. But these words buoyed me in times where I questioned the validity of everything, in places where nothing made sense, and in situations where the whole system seemed to be working against me.
As such, my life has been a whole lot of collecting clues about how to get more comfortable in the life that I live. It started out with “how to fit in” i.e. blend in and be perceived as “normal”, which led to the hollow chambers of superficial values and identity crisis. This followed by a period of retreat into myself and what I felt was right for me. Then my questions led me back out again and to a wider societal context where I ask: what is the good and beautiful life? How should we live in harmony with fellow humans and the environment that we form part of?
My primary methods of research align with the philosophical schools of Find What Feels Good (Adriene Misher) and Spark Joy (Marie Kondo). What’s exciting is that I’ve been finding these clues here and there. First it was slow, and the signal weak. But the more I kept on looking and refining my sensibilities, the better I got at finding what felt right.
Thanks to you, Professor Van Dam, I’m finally starting to trust myself and the process of inquiry and insight.
How it’s going
Recently I’ve found a burst of energy to re-enter the domain of Urban Planning. To help guide me through the morass of dogma in the profession, I have found enormous solace in writing.
I’m a Write of Passage 7 alumnae and have been writing a weekly newsletter called Subject to Change since October 2021. These two things have been nothing short of life-changing.