Valentines for Urban Planning Nerds
Commercial Valentine's Day cards leave a lot to be desired. The sickly sweet sentiments and ubiquitous hearts, glitter, and cute animals are so trite that they often signify one thing: "I picked up your card on the way home from work."
But fear not, hopeless romantics. The internet has come together to create creative, personalized alternatives to cheesy Hallmark cards. Is your partner a huge Law and Order: SVU fan? You’re covered. Do you want to share your love of all things public radio? NPR at your service.
Most appropriate for readers of our site, there is now Planning Love, a set of quirky Valentine's Day cards for the city and transport obsessed. Created by Bay Area husband-and-wife team Anirvan Chatterjee and Barnali Ghosh, who also run the Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour, these cards were designed with urban planners in mind.
"We designed Planning Love as a fun way to honor everyone who’s passionate about this work," wrote Chatterjee in an email. "We were inspired by two great projects: Jeff Speck’s book Walkable City, which breaks down transportation and urban design concepts for lay people like me, and Southern California artist Tanzila Ahmed’s witty Muslim Valentine’s Day cards."
While some cards are strictly G-rated, others shift ever-so-slightly to the saucier side of romance. "We had fun transforming everyday planning terms into racy love motifs," Chatterjee says. In fact, they did their job so well with the above card that a Twitter user said they'd never look at parklets the same way again.
This happens to be Chatterjee’s favorite of the series. It is a tribute to eponymous UCLA urban design professor Donald Shoup and his acolytes. "I love how passionate his followers are, and the way they turn what would otherwise be an incredibly dry and geeky policy argument into something worth caring for and fighting for," Chatterjee says.
If you are charmed by these examples, more of Chatterjee and Ghosh's city-inspired cards are available under a Creative Commons license at project’s website. You can print them out yourself or wait for the day when the duo sell hard copies, something they are considering right now. And between their own designs and fan submissions, Chatterjee says, there are plenty more of these to come.
All images courtesy of Anirvan Chatterjee and Barnali Ghosh and available via a CC-BY-NC 3.0 license.