Skip to content

Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E8: MNL-LAX with Carren Jao

Colin Marshall sits down in North Hollywood with Carren Jao, Manila- and Los Angeles-based writer on architecture, art, and design. They discuss what rain does to the aesthetic of Los Angeles; the role of the river here as the connection people don’t realize they have; the difference between the floods Los Angeles used to routinely endure and the ones Manila routinely endures now; how, growing up in the Philippines, she got interested in the shape and form of cities; Manila’s “improvisational” nature not centered around always having functioning systems; the Filipino inclination to make guests’ lives easier in any way possible; her entry into the United States, but not the one that “everyone knows”; public transit as amusement-park ride; the important role of the Jeepney in Manila’s transportation; her life in the San Fernando Valley, very much a place distinct from Los Angeles itself; how writing has forced her to explore this city and its environs, including still-developing ones like Pacoima’s “mural mile”; how to get the wide-openness of the Los Angeles experience across to friends, family, and readers; the “third-world” contrasts of nice homes next to squatters’ villages in Manila and the Arts District next to Skid Row in Los Angeles; the boom in interest related to architecture, design, and space-making, and the importance of leaving openings for people to construct their own environments; what she’d look at first after five years away from Los Angeles, and from Manila; this city’s long-confused relationship with its water; what the Philippines have learned from other countries; what America could learn from the Asian sense of accommodation; what she learns from having to attend neighborhood council meetings; how fast word and social knowledge travel in Manila, how slow they can travel in Los Angeles, and how both have their advantages.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed or on iTunes.

(Photo: Janna Dotschkal)

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *