Who Has Access to Safe Indoor Environments?

Plus: Join me online tonight for Quarantine Book Club!

Hi everyone,

Let’s get to it.

Online Event Tonight!

First, I wanted to let you all know that I’ll be chatting about The Great Indoors, and answering questions about our indoor environments, tonight at 8 PM Eastern / 5 PM Pacific. The event, which will be on Zoom, is part of the wonderful Quarantine Book Club series. (I encourage you to check out some of their other events and authors.)

The event is open to all, and you can register here. And don’t worry—just like in your real-world book club, you do not in fact need to read the book to participate.

The Pandemic’s Indoor Opportunity

I’ve been thinking a lot about Covid-19 superspreading events and what they reveal about exactly who has—and who doesn’t have—access to safe indoor environments. I expanded upon some of these ideas in an essay for Work in Progress. Here’s a brief preview:

Though it is possible to spread the disease outside, Covid-19 is primarily an illness of the indoors — a dramatic, life and death demonstration of how much the indoor environment matters. But not all environments are created equal. And the pandemic highlights the uncomfortable truth that in the world we’ve built, a healthy indoor space is a privilege, when it should be a basic human right.

You can read the entire piece here.

Indoor Ephemera

  • Speaking of environmental inequities: “A new study suggests a lack of data for detecting burgeoning flu outbreaks is a ‘critical blind spot’ in the highest poverty neighborhoods.”

  • Architects must accept their role in perpetuating inequality.

  • Will workers ever return to the office?

  • A really interesting piece on “the struggle for the urban soundscape”: “These two soundscapes encapsulate an age-old battle between noise and silence, which is really a struggle for control over city life. A simultaneous pandemic and political uprising offer an opportunity to reinterpret that struggle. Researchers, urbanists, and citizens have all gotten noise and silence wrong, proposing solutions that are moralistic at best and undemocratic at worst. Silence and noise might seem like aesthetic matters. But resolving the conflict between them demands facing broader issues of environmental, social, and political power.”

  • While we’re on the subject of noise: Scientists have reportedly developed a technology that will function as “a pair of giant noise-canceling headphones for your apartment.”

  • The Covid-19 outbreak at San Quentin prison is an absolute debacle—and a national shame.

  • That’s one reason it’s time to talk about decarceration.

  • A primer on homelessness in America.

  • “Thirty years on, the Americans With Disabilities Act has reshaped the way designers and the public have come to think about equity, civil rights and American architecture. But it’s only a start.”

  • The history of Candy Land is *much* more interesting than the game itself. (Hint: Polio plays a starring role.)

  • And finally: A delightful look back at MTV’s “Cribs”

Bonus Interspecies Animal Content

Till next time!


The Great Indoors is now out! You can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, IndieBound, or your local independent bookstore.

You can read more of my work at my website and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. (You can follow me on Facebook, too, I suppose, but I rarely post there.)