Ahn-Truh-poh. According to the Dictionary, a cosmopolitan trading city where goods are bought and re-sold. 

A metropolis budding with diverse sounds, scents and spices.

Languages and people. Books and movies. Conversation topics that range from land use zoning to falling in love. Come with an open mind but a robust opinion, and be ready to share:) 



Ryland Lu. LA native and urban planner by profession.


Unapologetically curious. I have enjoyed asking “Why?” or “What Happened?”to nearly everything since I was a kid.

I also enjoy midnight karaoke, early morning bus rides and brisk walks at any time of day.


The story starts in 2010. That year, I entered the UCLA undergraduate college as a history major, with the intention of becoming a college professor. I sincerely believed that I could make a difference in the world by teaching and writing about my perspectives on the past and present.

Four years of reading needlessly dense texts, enduring arrogant professors and encountering stressed-out graduate students convinced me otherwise. I became disillusioned with academia’s rigid adherence to established paradigms.

So, instead of pursuing an advanced degree after I graduated college, I started interning for a Los Angeles City Council office, which kindled my interest in transportation planning.

I went on to work for a year-and-a-half in the long-range planning division of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, before returning to UCLA to obtain an Urban Planning Master’s Degree.

For a second time, I considered pursuing a PhD–in planning–only to experience renewed frustration with the academy. Even in a purportedly interdisciplinary field, many academics approached issues from a narrow set of perspectives. In addition, the heavy workload consumed my life and gave me anxiety, leading me to dislike the very course material that had attracted me to the program.

Therefore, once I had finished my masters degree I left campus for a career at a planning firm. However, I didn’t abandon my passion for knowledge.

In the meantime, outside the ivory towers, reliable sources of information-such as print journalism-were giving way to shadowy or superficial social media outlets. “Fake news” won elections in Britain and the United States. Cyberspace was becoming bifurcated between low-readership, detail-oriented niche blogs and “self-help” sites with broad readership but limited substance.

And so, I have started this blog to fill the digital gap and fulfill my dream. To share information and opinions on a variety of topics openly and accessibly. To create a space where you can conduct intellectual discussion on your own terms and where all opinions are respected.


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