Here's what I've learned on my self-improvement journey

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If you are reading this article, I think you can relate to the universe of self- development. For me, the personal development journey started when I dived head-first into it in my freshman year of college. The need to keep up with school work and make my way through intellectually uncharted territory prompted me to increasingly incorporate productivity, focus and personal improvement hacks in my daily routine.

Every habit of that sort you can think of, trust me, I’ve done it — from waking up at 5 AM and practicing daily mindfulness meditations to planning my schedule weekly to the…


My experience with a Brazilian social movement that occupies unused buildings

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The on-going COVID-19 pandemic is uncovering a problem that for so long has been neglected by the state: homelessness. The number of people living on the streets has been soaring during this global health crisis. This rise is especially worrisome in countries under far-right governments since most of them insist on downplaying the effects of the virus and failing to provide the support its population needs.

The United States, for instance, could have 23 million citizens facing eviction notice in the coming months - according to CBS News - yet the government is doing what it can to reduce unemployment…


And why this type of city can be the solution to 21st-century problems.

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It’s a fact that most of our cities are planned around cars, highways, and parking lots while the most important element of urban planning is callously put in the back burner: people.

Having cars as protagonists is inadequate, seeing that the social functions of the city are completely disregarded, resulting in cold and uninviting spaces that lack human life.

Cities are supposed to be a place of encounters, spontaneous conversations, or to relax and people watch. Cities should invite us to sit and enjoy ourselves for a while. …


People go to sleep not knowing if they are going to wake up the next day.

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It’s not a secret that the Brazilian government has never perceived working people, especially those from black communities, as equals. In fact, they’ve always been seen as subhumans and enemies of the state.

The Brazilian police was conceived in the early 1800s reflecting those classist and racist ideals of the state, as it was created to protect the state’s and the elites’ interests. And to this day that’s exactly what it does.

It’s important to point out that Brazil’s black communities were victims of slavery for nearly three centuries and after the abolition they weren’t really free, since they were…


Now, like in the fiction, war is peace, slavery is freedom and ignorance is strength. Still, people think everything is normal

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At this point, it is more than clear that anti-science and anti-fact positions found their way into power. Reality now has a dystopian tone analogous to George Orwell’s 1984. Disinformation is widespread, facts are often mistaken for opinion and science is valid only when it is beneficial to those in power and the elites — unfortunately, I am not just exemplifying the pillars of an exaggerated picture of a totalitarian government written by Orwell, this is reality.

The slogan of the Party could have seemed far-fetched when we first read the book - war is peace, slavery is freedom, ignorance…


On a daily basis, we see our wages dwindle and labor laws loosen, yet that is never taken into account to justify inequality.

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It’s not a secret that the gap between the rich and the poor is looking more like an abyss these days. While working people are losing their jobs and struggling to pay rent right now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, billionaires increased their wealth. This situation brings us to question — more than ever — that old narrative that was so forcefully bestowed upon us: meritocracy — the idea that hard work makes anything possible.

On a daily basis, we see our wages dwindle and labor laws loosen, yet that is never taken into account to justify inequality. …


And no one is doing anything about it.

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While global carbon dioxide emissions plummeted to levels not seen since 2006, due to the measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic, Brazil’s emissions saw an increase. The reason for that, besides the lack of effort on a federal level to impose measures to contain the spread of the virus, is the rise of deforestation, which is directly linked to the fires, for that’s what is done to clean the site after deforestation itself. This situation is especially appalling, seeing that the far-right fascist-inclined Brazilian government is complacent.

For a couple of years Brazil’s been dealing with an extremely polarized…


As an Urban Planner, I am trained to notice how cities and urban spaces are organized and the history behind them. However, it doesn’t take an expert to realize that most spaces we live in disregard, almost entirely, the social functions of a city space, leaving us with lifeless, cold and uninviting places.

The difference between planning taking into account the social aspect of the city and otherwise is very clear and it can be felt and seen just by walking down a street. Take this example, for instance:

Which sidewalk would you rather walk on?

Image of a monotonous sidewalk. Copyright: https://thecityateyelevel.com/stories/close-encounters-with-buildings/

Gabi Zinum

Urban planner and architect, right after human rights activist. Writer at Curious and Climate Conscious

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